May 09, 2011

Problem #1: Rapid Increases In Complexity

I'm going to start a series on some problem areas with naturalistic evolution.  By problem areas, I'm referring to evidence that does not easily fit the evolutionary model and that evolutionists have had a difficult time explaining.  There are many problems I'll point out, so stay tuned.

Rapid Increases In Complexity

The most widely received model of evolution is punctuated equilibrium (PE).  This theory rightly says that there have been periods of evolutionary stasis followed by bursts of speciation throughout time.  Evolution has occurred relatively quickly during key periods in history.  For the majority of history, rapid macroevolution has not occurred.  Microevolution, however, has been observed to occur today at lightning speed.

Naturalistic evolution cannot easily explain the ability of organisms to rapidly evolve new complex body parts or plans.  How did trilobites, for instance, develop complex eyes so quickly?  From the current fossil record, it looks as if they evolved eyes with corneas almost overnight, since many of the earliest trilobites found had developed eyes already.  Trilobites go back to c. 526 Ma and are some of the earliest animals, yet many of them had legs, eyes, digestive tracts, exoskeletons, mouths, gills, and so on.  There is no indication that there was a smooth transition from less complex to complex.  At best, there were large jumps in complexity.  How does random and unguided evolution explain these bursts of increased complexity?  It doesn't adequately do so.  The record of life shows examples of animals permanently losing complex features, so the idea that things tend towards greater complexity is a fallacy that some people may embrace.  (Naturalistic evolution doesn't actually teach this idea of increasing complexity[1].)  There is no logical basis for the concept that things can quickly grow more complex through random mutation and other random mechanisms.  The idea is logically absurd.

The Cambrian explosion (c. 570 - 530 Ma) marks a period where almost all basic body plans (phyla) rapidly came into existence.  Complexity sprang up overnight, relative to all of earth's history.  Actually, looking at complexity, there apparently has been little overall increase in complexity since the Cambrian explosion.  New designs have come into existence, like feathers and wings and flowers, but it's hard to say that trees or mice or other animals are more complex than Cambrian animals.  Information for complex designs seems to have sprung from nowhere.
"The gaps in the fossil record are real, however. The absence of a record of any important branching is quite phenomenal. Species are usually static, or nearly so, for long periods, species seldom and genera never show evolution into new species or genera but replacement of one by another, and change is more or less abrupt."  -Wesson, R., 1991; Beyond Natural Selection; MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, p. 45
 "The fossil record had caused Darwin more grief than joy. Nothing distressed him more than the Cambrian explosion, the coincident appearance of almost all complex organic designs..." -Gould, Stephen J.; The Panda's Thumb, 1980, p. 238-239

So, how can evolutionary creationism (evolution by design) explain periods of rapid evolution of complex features?  The information for complex features has been hidden within the genomes of ancient organisms, according to my belief.  Environmental pressures, along with genetic mechanisms, caused information for complex features to become expressed rapidly, and in some cases instantaneously.  There may have been steps leading to new body parts, like eyes, but those steps represent bursts of new information becoming expressed.  Some of these successive steps may have even been preprogrammed genetically.  Scientists underestimate the complexity and incredible potential of genetic codes.

So, punctuated equilibrium says that these bursts of evolution happened, but only creation of information can adequately explain how it happened.  The sudden appearance of complexity within organisms is strong evidence for evolution being a designed process.  And, we'll see that this kind of designed evolution explains periods of evolutionary stasis, the slow down in macroevolution in modern times, and many other things.


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