Take My Missing Link, Please!!

HennyYoungman, the comedian, was the master of the one-liners.  All of his jokes started with the word “take”.  Youngman might start his stand-up act with, “Take the man who’s wife wanted to go somewhere that she’s never been before, so he took her into the kitchen”.  Then after telling twenty five one-liners in rapid fire fashion, he would always end up with, “Take my wife, please”.

Evolutionists can also be a source of amusement.  Through the years the unsuspecting public has been asked to take an ancient fossil as the long sought after missing link.  It might be the link between chimpanzees and humans or between reptiles and birds or between fish and amphibians or between other diverse groups of organisms.

This brings publicity through the print and broadcast media as they report some scientist’s plea to “take my missing link, please”.  To take a single missing link and then to jump across millions of years of geological formations that show no other transitions and then to pronounce it as the missing link to some much later animal isn’t science.  This isn’t even myth.  This is comic relief.  Darwinmight smile and think that a single mysterious link doesn’t hold much empirical weight.  Science must be measured against some hypothesis; an explanation that accounts for a set of facts that can be tested by observation or measurement.  Darwinhad a precise hypothesis that he kept within narrow and specific limits.  Darwinwrote in Origin:

“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ exists , which could not be formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

Later on in the Origin,Darwin says:

“So the number of intermediate and transitional links, between all living and extinct species must have been inconceivably great, if my theory be true”.

The number of missing links between species must be so large that they are “incapable of being comprehended or fully grasped” (Webster’s definition of inconceivable).  Would this unbelievably large number of links be in the millions or must it be larger as one can conceive of a million?  Certainly, the missing transitions must be much greater than the standard, well defined species as we know them.

Darwinwas born before the great breakthroughs that gave biologists a picture of the staggering complexity of the cell.  But his intuition that large jumps could not take place in organisms has been born out by modern biochemistry and genetics.  The vast majority of mutations are harmful.  It is very difficult to find a single mutation that leads to greater replicative ability.  Mutant bacteria that survive an antibiotic due to positive changes in a few proteins also have negative changes in other proteins that make it less likely to survive when the antibiotic is removed and they are forced to compete with their native, wild cousins.  The wild, hearty species wipe out the mutants.

In the case of humans, taking a few aspirin may positively affect a few proteins to give one relief from a headache, but overall, too much aspirin is going to have a negative effect on one’s body.  Large scale mutations caused by chemicals or radiation often are deadly.

German geneticists Christiane Nusslein-Volhard and Eric Wieshaus using a technique called mutagenesis, searched for every possible mutation involved in fruit fly development.  They discovered dozens of mutations that produce a variety of malformations.  Their herculean efforts earned them the Nobel Prize, but they did not turn up a single mutation that would benefit a fly in the wild.

A famous meeting took place at the Wistar Institute inPhiladelphiabetween mathematicians and Darwinists.  The mathematicians argued that their calculations showed that the eye could not have evolved by the accumulation of small mutations.  It is difficult to find one beneficial mutation.  The millions of point mutations that must proceed in an unbroken, beneficial cascade to form the eye with it’s complex parts was beyond the probabilistic resources of all time and space.

This inability to form new organisms by beneficial mutations has shown itself in the rocks.  Fossils are real – one can see them, feel them, smell them, and assemble them.  The fossils have not submitted to the hopes of Darwin and his followers.  Darwinlaments in Origin, “ …the abrupt and sudden appearance of whole groups of species has been urged by paleontologists Agassiz, Pictet, and Sedwick as a fatal objection to my theory”.

Stephen Jay Gould was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Geology at HarvardUniversity.  In his book, Structure of Evolutionary Theory, he writes:

“Darwinknew perfectly well, as all paleontologists always have, that stasis and abrupt appearance represent a norm for the observed history of most species.   …Paleontologists therefore came to view stasis as just another failure to document evolution.”

Because evolution has not been documented, it would be interesting to examine some examples of how susceptible researchers have been manipulated in their desperate search for missing links.

The Piltdown “caper” would have been funny if it was only designed to amuse, but unfortunately this fraud was accepted as evidence for evolution by scientists and the unsuspecting public for forty years.  Biologist Jonathan Wells reminds us in his book, Icons of Evolution, that amateur paleontologist Charles Dawson found pieces of human skull and part of an ape-like jaw in a gravel pit in PiltdownEngland.  The pieces were reconstructed into an entire skull by Arthur Smith Woodward at theBritishMuseum and then reported to the Geological Society of London in December 1912. Smith Woodward’s reconstruction was at first disputed, but then was widely accepted for four decades as the missing link between the great apes and humans.

In 1953, Joseph Weiner, Keith Oakley, and Wilfred Le Gros Clark proved that the Piltdown skull though perhaps thousands of years old, belonged to a modern human, and the jaw belonged to an orangutan.  The jaw had been chemically treated to make it look like a fossil, and its teeth had been deliberately filed down to make them look human.  Piltdown Man was exposed as a fraud.

Biologist Jonathan Wells again notes what historian of biology Jane Maienschein wrote, “Piltdown shows us how easily susceptible researchers can be manipulated into believing that they actually found just what they had been looking for.”  Even if the fossil had been genuine, one fossil making a sudden jump across vast stretches of space and time should leave a good scientist wondering about the absence of many other links leading up to it.

Henry Gee, Chief Science Writer for Nature, says, “The intervals of time that separate fossils are so huge that we cannot say anything definite about their possible connection through ancestry and descent”.

What about the dinosaurs?  Many honest, soundly trained paleontologists, hardworking scholars who weren’t religious bigots at all, saw in the rocks abundant evidence to suggest that species were fixed and largely unchanging.  The same was true of the dinosaurs.  The conclusion seems inescapable: species of dinosaurs were fixed units that did not change through time and across space.

Robert T. Baker began his studies at Yale and continued at Harvard.  In his book, Dinosaur Heresies, he writes:

“Horned dinosaurs confronted science with an evolutionary puzzle.  These dinosaurs were so highly evolved that paleontologists were at a loss  as to how such creatures could have descended from any other kind of dinosaur.  It was as though the horned dinosaurs had sprung directly from the mind of the creator”

As Baker also admits:

“My final notes contained a record of the Brontosaurus through hundreds of thousands of breeding generations, spanning many major environmental shifts and climate changes.  Therein was contained absolutely no evidence of continuous evolutionary changes.  Brontosaurus had remained fixed in its adoption through a million years.  …Reconstructing the ancestry of a clan like the pterodactyls remains an especially difficult challenge.  Flying dragons burst into the world like Athena from the mind of Zeus, fully formed”.

This doesn’t stop evolutionists from selecting a much smaller, isolated dinosaur fossil that is separated by huge intervals of time and space as a possible ancestor.  Selecting such a long lost missing link as an ancestor is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested and carries the same validity as a bedtime story – amusing perhaps, but not scientific.

The coelacanth, an early lobe-finned fish, was once confidently considered, through close examination of fossil remains, to be a direct ancestor to amphibians who invaded land.  The coelacanth was thought to be extinct for nearly one hundred million years until a fisherman caught a living specimen off the coast of EastAfricain 1938.  Since then other coelacanth have been caught in very deep waters in the same area.  For nearly a century these ancient lobe-finned fish have been generally considered to be the ideal amphibian ancestor and have been classed as intermediate between fish and terrestrial vertebrates.  It was assumed that their soft biology would also be transitional between that of a typical fish and amphibian.

But examination of the living coelacanth proved very disappointing.  Much of it’s soft anatomy, particularly that of the heart, intestine, and brain, was not what was expected of an amphibian ancestor.  As scientist Barbara Stahl writes in her book, Vertebrate History, “The modern coelacanth shows no evidence of having internal organs preadapted to use in terrestrial environment”.

If the case of the coelacanth illustrates anything, it shows how difficult it is to draw conclusions about the overall biology of organisms from their skeletal remains alone, because the soft biology tells the most about an animal.

The duck billed platypus is a unique animal that shows some reptilian and some mammalian characteristics in its anatomical systems.  Molecular biologist, Michael Denton, in his book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, writes:

“Where platypuses are reptilian in, for example, the reproductive systems and in the structure of their eggs, they are almost fully reptilian, while where they are mammalian, as for example in the construction of their middle ear, or in the possession of hair, they are fully mammalian.  Instead of finding character traits which are obviously transitional we find them to be either basically reptilian or basically mammalian, so that although the platypuses are a puzzle in terms of typology they afford little evidence for believing that any of the basic character traits of mammals were achieved gradually in the way evolution envisions”.

Denton’s words would be expected by a scientist who believes in design, because the platypuses’ systems are fixed in time.  Evolutionists would wonder why the reptilian systems are not gradually moving toward the less primitive mammalian systems.

The platypus has a wondrous apparatus for hunting crustaceans, insect larvae and other small creatures in the mud at the bottom of streams.  Platypuses have about 40,000 electrical sensors distributed in both surfaces of the bill.  In addition to the 40,000 sensors, there are 60,000 mechanical sensors called push rods scattered over the surface of the bill.  Various fish use electrical sensors, but the platypus might be the only animal that has the type of nervous system that is able to process the information from both electrical and mechanical sensors.  The male platypus has a sting in its tail claws.  It is not deadly but it is extremely painful and unresponsive to morphine.  As Darwinist Richard Dawkins states in is book, Ancestor’s Tale, “Among mammals, the male platypus is in a class of its own, and it may be in a class of its own among venomous animals, too”.

The fact that the platypus’ amazing bill, which is a reconnaissance device, an AWACS organ, seems to have appeared independently should not surprise scientists.  Thomas Woodward, in one of his books, list one of Dawkin’s key quotes about the fossil record, “It is as though they were planted there, without any evolutionary history”.

All paleontologists ofDarwin’s time knew perfectly well that stasis and abrupt appearance represented the norm for the observed history of species.  SoDarwinacknowledged that his theory was in trouble. Darwinreceived new hope, when in 1861 Herman von Meyer described a fossil that appeared to be intermediate between reptiles and birds.  The fossil had wings and feathers; but it also had teeth (unlike any modern bird),  a long lizard-like tail, and claws on it’s wings.  Meyer named the newly discovered animal Archaeopteryx (meaning ancient wing).

Biologist Jonathan Wells writes, “Yet the role of the Archaeopteryx as a link between reptiles and birds is very much in dispute.  Paleontologists now agree that Archaeopteryx is not the ancestor of modern birds, and its own ancestors are the subject of one of the most heated controversies in modern science.  The missing link, it seems, is still missing”.  If Archaeopteryx is a single missing link in an “inconceivably great chain” (Darwin’s words), where are the other links?  There are too many structural differences between Archaeopteryx and modern birds for these links to be found.

In 1985,UniversityofKansaspaleontologist Larry Martin wrote, “Archaeopteryx is not ancestral of any group of modern birds.  Instead, it is the earliest known member of a totally extinct group of birds.”  Furthermore in 1996 paleontologist Mark Norell, of theAmericanMuseumof Natural History inNew York, called Archaeopteryx “a very important fossil” but added that most paleontologists now believe it is not a direct ancestor of modern birds.

Ultra Darwinist Richard Dawkins proclaimed in his recent book The Greatest Show on Earth, “Evolutionists often respond to challenges of others by throwing them the bones of Archaeopteryx, the famous intermediate between reptiles and birds.  This is a mistake.  To put up a single famous fossil like Archaeopteryx panders to a fallacy”.

Biologist Jonathan Wells writes:

“In 1999 amateur dinosaur enthusiast Steven Czerkas and the National Geographic Society announced that a fossil purchased for $80,000 at an Arizonamineral show was the missing link between terrestrial dinosaurs and birds that could actually fly.  The fossil, which was apparently smuggled out of China, had the forelimbs of a primitive bird and the tail of a dinosaur.  Czenkas named it Archaeoraptor (not to be confused with the above mentioned Archaeopteryx).  In November 1999 National Geographic magazine featured Archaeoraptor in an article entitled “Feathers for T.Rex”.  Christopher Slone, the article’s author, claimed that “we can now say that birds are dinosaurs just as confidently as we can say that humans are mammals, and that feathered dinosaurs proceeded the first bird”.

It so happened that a clever forger fabricated features to give evolutionists what they were looking for.  Chinese paleontologist Xu Xing discovered the fabrication and proved that the specimen consisted of a dinosaur tail glued to the body of a primitive bird.

Peter Raven, secretary of the National Geographic Society, received and angry letter from Stuart Olsen, curator of birds at the Smithsonian Institution.  Olsen said the “society was allying itself with a cadre of zealous scientists who have been outspoken and highly biased proselytizers of the faith that birds evolved from dinosaurs.  Truth and careful scientific weighing of evidence have been among the first casualties in their program”.

Although National Geographic posted a retraction, the February 2000 Nature said that the “Society naively and hastily published an article that was sensationalistic, unsubstantiated, tabloid journalism”.

The failure of the fossil record to show gradualism from species to species has moved Darwinists, in desperation, to look toward advances in complex machines as symbols of evolution.  Biologist Tim Berra compared the fossil record to a series of automobile models, “If you compared a 1953 and a 1954 Corvette, side by side, then a 1954 and a 1955 model, and so on, the descent with modification is overwhelmingly obvious.  This is what paleontologists do with fossils, and the evidence is so solid and comprehensive that it cannot be denied by reasonable people”.

This has been dubbed as “Berra’s Blunder”, because we all know that automobiles are manufactured according to plans drawn up by engineers. Even a small modification in a component in next year’s Corvette might require extensive re-engineering of other components that work in tandem with the modification.  The search for improved function in the Corvette was always intelligently guided.

Scientist Jukes, in a letter to Nature, drew an analogy between the evolution of the Boeing 747 , from Berliot’s 1909 monoplane through the Boeing Clippers in the 1930’s to the first Boeing airliner in 1959, and biological evolution.  Unfortunately, the analogy is false.  At no stage during the history of the aviation industry was the design of any flying machine achieved by chance, but only by the most rigorous application of all the rules which govern function in the field of aerodynamics.  An engineer “rolling the dice” to determine the next component of an airliner should be shipped out to Wall Street.

Throughout this paper, I have been looking at examples of how susceptible the media and the public are to the idea that a long lost missing link has been found.  The fraudulent Piltdown Man was taken as the missing link between the great apes and man for forty years.  The fossil remains of the coelacanth were assumed to be from an extinct species and taken to be a transitional stage between that of a fish and amphibian until the soft biology of a living coelacanth showed otherwise.  The duck billed platypus, once thought to be transitional between reptiles and mammals, appeared suddenly in nature and is fixed in time.  Furthermore, the platypuses’ amazing bill, one of the most advanced reconnaissance devices ever found, appeared independently without gradual build-up in nature.  The archaeopteryx, a well preserved fossil that was proclaimed as the long lost intermediate between reptiles and birds is now out of fashion with most paleontologists.  In addition, one intermediate fossil between reptiles and birds is indefensible in light ofDarwin’s “inconceivable many transitions”.  Archaeoraptor, loudly proclaimed by National Geographic as certainly the link between dinosaurs and birds only proved enriching to the perpetrators of the fabrication to the tune of $80,000.

Dinosaurs provide Darwin and his followers with almost no hope in their quest for gradualism.  It is because some dinosaurs are so huge that they make our largest present day land animals appear small in comparison.  It has always beenDarwin’s argument the transitional ancestors were a bit like what went before them and a bit like what came after.  The fact that gargantuan dinosaurs such as Brontosaurus and T. Rex make their first appearance in the fossil record fully formed and raring to go, leave no hope for Darwin’s hypothesis.  Millions of dinosaur bones have been found but no bones have been found of close ancestors that should have been almost as gargantuan.  Large bones have the best chance of weathering the perils of environmental change, yet bones of ancestors never show up.

Please ask the following questions when a scientist says, “take my missing link, please”.  First of all, is the fossil genuine (fabrications are financially rewarding)?  Secondly, how far removed is it in time and space from the target species (usually the intervals are vast)?  Thirdly, how has the skeletal fossil been “enhanced” by an artist (the soft biology is often applied to represent the fossil hunter’s point of view)?  Fourthly, how many other paleontologists dispute the claim that it is a missing link (usually there are many)?  Fifthly, does the fossil have the company of many very similar transitions leading up to the target species?  If the answer to this all important question is no, as it almost always is, then no attempt has been made to abide byDarwin’s hypothesis.

If  Charles Darwin’s hypothesis, as stated in chapter 10 of the Origin of the Species says, “So the number of intermediate and transitional links, between all living and extinct species, must have been inconceivably great, if my theory be true” (emphasis added!), and then all paleontologists find sudden appearance and stasis as the norm for the entire fossil record, how does  Darwinism keep up the appearance as a valid science?  Maybe it is because the Darwinists control the science departments of universities and play the media to their satisfaction.  If the public would only study and readDarwin and other naturalists, Darwinists might not be able to “white wash” the truth.  One will get some idea of how they shelter the facts by considering the following admissions.

Ultra-Darwinist Stephen Jay Gould writes in Structure of Evolutionary Theory:

“Darwinknew perfectly well, as all paleontologists always have, that stasis and abrupt appearance represent a norm for the observed history of most species.  Paleontologists, therefore, came to view stasis as just another failure to document evolution.  But this primary signal of the fossil record, defined as the absence of data for evolution, only highlighted our frustration  and certainly did not represent anything worth publishing.  As a consequence, most non-paleontologists never learned about the predominance of stasis.” (emphasis added)

Neils Eldredge is the best known American paleontologist.  He is curator of the AmericanMuseumof Natural History and author of many books.  Eldredge started his career as an ardent Darwinist, but as empirical evidence mounted against Darwin’s views, he retreated to a more cautious position.  Eldredge writes in his book, Fossils:

“It turns out that Darwin’s contemporaries in the paleological world knew full well that once a species puts in an appearance in the fossil record, it tends not to exhibit much change throughout its stay up to its actual disappearance.  All paleontologists who wrote reviews of The Origin of the Species commented that Darwin seemed to be ignoring this salient fact of the fossil record.  For over a century the phenomenon of stasis was virtually swept under the rug.” (emphasis added)

Why would these two Darwinists make statements in direct opposition toDarwin’s hypothesis?  It may be because they are comfortable in their tenure and wealthy from book royalties.  However, it is more likely that once a community of Darwinists has elevated a theory into a self-evident truth, its defense becomes irrelevant and there is no longer any point in having to establish its validity by reference to empirical facts.

The above words written by Gould and Eldredge let us know about how the facts can be hidden – don’t “publish” the facts and “sweep them under the rug”.  Darwinists play their cards to perfection.  Their bluff has caused the media and the public to fold their hand.  Darwinists rake in all the chips without showing their hand.

Darwinists conquer the field without much effort because the media has not made an effort to find the facts.  It would be difficult to find one person in 100,000 who has actually read The Origin of the Species.

Forget trying to find a person who has stayed current by reading and studying evolution, paleontology, geology, zoology, biology, biochemistry, genetics, etcetera.  Most people get their “facts” about evolution from the media or from the latest pronouncement from a professor at Harvard.  Well, Gould was a Harvard professor and his upbeat public words about evolution do not match his negative written comments about Darwinism as quoted above.  It’s all there in the words, sentences, and paragraphs written by Charles Darwin, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, Neils Eldredge, Alexander Agazzi, George Gaylord Simpson – on and on the list would go until one names all the prominent scientists who studied fossils.  They all say that the primary signal of the entire fossil record is one of sudden appearance and stasis, defined as the absence of data for evolution.

The British newspaper The Guardian Weekly published the following excerpt from an article entitled, “Missing Believed Nonexistent”, written by a reporter summarizing remarks made by Dr. Eldredge to a group of science writers:

“If life had evolved into its wondrous profusion of creatures little by little, Dr. Eldredge argues, then one would expect to find fossils of transitional creatures which were a bit like what went before them and a bit like what came after.  But no one has yet found any evidence of such transitional creatures.  This oddity has been attributed to gaps in the fossil record which gradualists expect to fill when the rock strata of the proper age had been found.  In the last decade, however, geologists have found rock layers of all divisions of the last 500 million years and no transitional forms were contained in them.”

Darwinism has been pictured as an impregnable battleship with academic wine and cheese parties on the deck.  Because Darwinist’s reputation and livelihood rested on the solidarity of the paradigm, no dissent was tolerated.  However, Darwinism is implicitly theological and grounded on evidence that is not empirical. Darwin’s most formidable opponents are not clergymen, but fossil experts who found sudden appearance and stasis in the rocks. Darwinwrote, “I can give no satisfactory answer to the lack of intermediates.  Nature may almost be said to have guarded against the frequent discovery of her transitional forms”.

In his book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, molecular biologist Michael Denton writes:

“Considering its historical significance and the social and moral transformation caused in western thought, one might have hoped that Darwinian theory was capable of a complete, comprehensive and entirely plausible explanation for all biological phenomena from the origin of life on through all its diverse manifestations up to, and including, the intellect of man.  That it is neither plausible, nor comprehensive, is deeply troubling.  One might have expected that a theory of such cardinal importance, a theory that literally changed the world, would have been something more than metaphysics, something more than a myth.”

Lee Kleinschmidt

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