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No. 23: Sep-Oct 1982

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Facing Up To The Gaps

The textbooks and professors of biology and geology speak confidently of the fossil record. Darwin may have expressed concern about its incompleteness, but, especially in the context of the creation-evolution tempest, evolutionists seem to infer that a lot of missing links have been found. Some scientists, however, are facing up to the fact that many gaps in the fossil record still exist after a century of Darwinism. One has even dispaired that "the stratigraphic record, as a whole, is so incomplete that fossil patterns are meaningless artefacts of episodic sedimentation."

D.E. Schindel, Curator of Invertebrate Fossils in the Peabody Museum, has scrutinized seven recent microstratigraphical studies, evaluating them for temporal scope, microstratigraphical acuity, and stratigraphical completeness. His first and most important conclusion is that a sort of Uncertainty Principle prevails such that "a study can provide fine sampling resolution, encompass long spans of geological time, or contain a complete record of the time span, but not all three." After further analysis he concludes with a warning that the fossil record is full of habitat shifts, local extinctions, and general lack of permanence in physical conditions.

(Schindel, David E.; "The Gaps in the Fossil Record," Nature, 297:282, 1982.)

Comment. This candor makes one wonder how much of our scientific philosophy should be based upon such a shaky foundation.

From Science Frontiers #23, SEP-OCT 1982. 1982-2000 William R. Corliss