ICR: “Living Fossils” Prove Creationism

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:

1. Select a conclusion which you hope is true.
2. Find one piece of evidence that possibly might fit.
3. Ignore all other evidence.
4. That’s it.

In truth, the only living fossil that never shows signs of change is creationism. It’s too dead to evolve.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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15 responses to “ICR: “Living Fossils” Prove Creationism

  1. For my PhD in biology I studied muscles and sense organs in a “living fossil”, Limulus polyphemus, the Atlantic horseshoe crab. Although they are morphologically similar to fossils from millions of years ago, I would wager a fair amount of cash that if we were ever able to do full (or even partial) genome scans of Limulus or Nautilus pompilius fossils, there would be differences from the genomes of the current guys. We would probably be able to detect changes in a number of characteristics unrelated to gross morphology. Once again, I bet there would be no need to invoke the intervention of a sky fairy!

  2. Stephen Kennedy

    As I have mentioned before, the Theory of Evolution does not require all animals and plants to become extinct at some point. It does not even require that they undergo any morphological change over a certain length of time. If the environment does not change significantly and an organism is well adapted to that environment it is likely that they will not change significantly.

    Turtles, with an endoskeleton in the limbs and a hard exoskeleton surrounding their vital organs evolved into a very unique and successful body type early in the Triassic and have therefore survived for 230 million years with no real selection pressure to fundamentally change a successful body type.

    Again, the creationists are barking up the wrong tree. If they want to come up with something that the Theory of Evolution can not explain they need to find that very elusive Cambrian rabbit.

  3. Dimwit who does not know that there is no living fossils!!! By definition to be a fossil you must be dead!!!

  4. Fish go back as far back or almost as far back as the nautilus, yet we still have fish. The fact that selection (probably because of the evolution of jaws and other innovations rendering a shell an encumbrance with little value) has weeded out most of the various species of nautilus to the point they are rare making them a “living fossil” is hardly evidence for creation.

  5. As long as the creationists do not tell us what happens when there is a creation event, and what does not happen, it is pointless to inquire of anything whether or not it is consistent with its being a creation event.

  6. Olivia–whose professional academic credentials are impeccable–assures me that “There is only one so-called ‘living fossil’ known to science, and that is our Curmudgeon. His dress sense alone places him in the pre-Cambrian era…”

  7. Ah, Megalonyx, I expected you to launch a pre-emptive strike when the sensitive subject of living fossils came up. The best you can do is to criticize my attire?

  8. Who said I was criticising? I was only quoting Olivia.

    For my part, I’m impressed that there is still in the world a living speciman of Goldwater Man.

  9. How about a ? daisy avatar

  10. Intellectually, Mr. Brian Thomas fits in the same taxon as Mickey Mouse and Casey Luskin. Which of those is most intelligent is open to question. However, my money is in the one who wears short pants and funny ears.

  11. “God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind.”
    Interesting. Which verse discusses the Kellerwasser Devonian extinctions?
    Perhaps interpreting the verse a little less literally would be a good idea.

  12. I thought creationists were living fossils – wait NO – they are brain-dead mutants

  13. That’s an insult to mutants everywhere. ;D

  14. In truth, the only living fossil that never shows signs of change is creationism. It’s too dead to evolve.
    Please, someone throw some dirt on the carcass, it’s starting to stink up the place!

  15. “Their genetic variation actually narrowed as their species variation diminished.” Really, you don’t say?