Today we’re confronted with one of the greatest challenges creation science presents to the theory of evolution — the existence of living fossils, described by Wikipedia as:
… a living species (or clade) of organism that appears to be similar to a species otherwise known only from fossils, typically with no close living relatives. Normally the similarity is only by an imagined physical resemblance, between two different species, one extinct, the other extant. It is an informal non-scientific term, mostly used in the lay media. These species have survived major extinction events, and generally retain low taxonomic diversities.
One of the most vigorous champions of the idea that living fossils disprove evolution is the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom. We’ve written about a couple of their earlier articles on this subject — see Creationist Wisdom — Example 60 (we didn’t have a separate menu category for ICR back then), and also ICR: Persistent Plant Genus Proves Creationism.
ICR’s latest is ‘Living Fossils’ Point to Recent Creation. It was written by Brian Thomas. He’s usually described at the end of his articles as “Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.” This is ICR’s biographical information on him. Here are some excerpts from his brilliant article, with bold font added by us:
According to Genesis 1:21, “God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind.” The creation of original, distinct creature kinds confronts the evolutionary teaching that animals can endlessly morph from one form to another. Recent news reports reveal two clear illustrations of sea creatures living and reproducing according to their kinds right from the start.
Wowie — not just one, but two creatures — or at least their “kinds” — that still exist from long ago. What happened to all the others? ICR seems not to care. In true creationist fashion, they focus only on things that can be spun to support their beliefs. Then we’re told:
The stunningly beautiful chambered nautilus features its famous coiled and symmetrical shell.
Marine biologists including University of Washington biologist Peter Ward, concerned about the declining nautilus population, study deep oceans to better understand the creatures’ numbers and distribution. Using a submersible camera, Ward reported a nautilus sighting in July 2015 off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The last time anyone reported the creature in that area was back in 1984.
That’s nice, but where’s the creationism? Let’s read on:
Meanwhile, the always-fascinating nautilus shell reminds researchers of the mystery its fossil counterparts present. The New York Times wrote,
[Alleged quote:] The fossil record dates the ancestors of the nautilus to the late Cambrian period, 500 million years ago. Some grew to be true sea monsters, with gargantuan shells and big tentacles. Over eons, the thousands of species have dwindled to a handful.
Then ICR tosses this brain-twister at us:
By the way, “the fossil record” doesn’t actually date anything — scientists do that. But what are the odds that these creatures could have persisted unchanged for half-a-billion years?
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Creationists are always telling us about the impossible odds against evolution, but now they’re turning it around and asking about the odds of something not evolving. They imagine that stasis is an evolution-killer because they believe that the theory of evolution requires the sudden, tsunami-like, simultaneous transformation of one entire species into another. This is a clumsy variation of the age-old clunker: Why are there still monkeys? ICR continues:
According to this secular story, nautiluses avoided evolving upward — they haven’t gained a single new feature. Their genetic variation actually narrowed as their species variation diminished. It’s a good thing we have not yet fished the chambered nautilus to extinction, since by observing them we can appreciate their fine design and compare them to similar-looking Cambrian fossils that showcase creation according to the nautilus kind.
Then they talk about sea turtles, and quote an article that allegedly says:
The almost completely preserved skeleton from the Cretaceous, with a length of nearly 2 meters, shows all of the characteristic traits of modern marine turtles.
Gasp! Another sea creature that appears to have persisted relatively unchanged through the millennia. Such things are possible in the ocean, but we’re not aware of too many examples on land. Well, there are a few, but geological changes make such examples relatively rare. Here’s the conclusion of ICR’s article:
[T]hese “ancient” fossil creatures look like their modern counterparts — just as if they were created to reproduce according to their kinds.
This has been a good example of what we call the Creationist Scientific Method:
In truth, the only living fossil that never shows signs of change is creationism. It’s too dead to evolve.
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