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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

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987