On today’s ID the Future Casey Luskin hosts distinguished German paleontologist Günter Bechly to discuss Bechly’s essay in the recent Harvest House anthology, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions About Life and the Cosmos. Darwinian evolution predicts a gradually branching tree of living forms, with one form shading into another over long periods of evolution, with each transitional step almost too modest to notice. Does the fossil record suggest such a pattern? Quite the opposite, Bechly says. Instead the pattern of the fossil record is consistently one of sudden appearance, and evolutionists have yet to successfully construct a single robustly populated series of gradually transitioning fossils that move chronologically from one form to a distinctly different morphology. Darwinism would lead us to expect such transitional sequences all over the fossil record, and yet evolutionists, searching assiduously for more than 160 years, have yet to construct a single one of these. Bechly debunks the hype around some fossil sequences, such as that said to have been assembled from ape-like to human. He explains the difference between “transitional forms” as paleontologists generally use the term and the meaning of the term for evolutionists attempting to defend modern Darwinism. And he and Luskin also discuss fossil forgeries, how to tell real from fake fossils, and four explosions of morphological novelty in the history of life.
On today’s ID the Future, German paleontologist Günter Bechly unpacks what Charles Darwin referred to as an “abominable mystery,” the sudden appearance in the fossil record of a certain group of flowering plants. It was a mystery to Darwin because according to his theory, there should have been a long succession of precursors gradually evolving toward the flowering plants of the Cretaceous. Bechly and host Eric Anderson focus their conversation around a recent paper by Richard Buggs in the American Journal of Botany showing that the problem for evolutionary theory has actually grown more acute since Darwin’s time. What about a recent article claiming to have found evidence of flowering plants in the Jurassic? Bechly says that the “evidence” amounts to the authors theorizing that there must have been a common ancestor long before the Cretaceous. The fossil evidence for any such Jurassic plants remains absent. In other words, they posited ghost lineages based on what is required by modern evolutionary theory, specifically an assumption of common descent and Neo-Darwinism mechanism of gradual, unguided evolutionary change. Anderson and Bechly wrap up their conversation by considering the implications of all this for the evolution/intelligent design debate.