Fossils and Genetics: Evidence for Evolution?
Updated: Jun 27, 2020
Evolutionists commonly believe that fossils and genetic similarities are evidences for evolution. This is what we are taught in schools, colleges, museums, media entertainment, and so forth. Humanist RC’s comment in the Evolution as “Science” Debate was typical in the sense of his arguments. However, I commend RC for being much more respectful compared to the other humanists. In Part 4 of the debate transcript, I share RC’s comment along with my response. Note that when I reference my previous response to KY, you can find that here.
Note: transcript portions are in topical order for clarity, but the posts are numbered to maintain chronological integrity. By the time I share Part 10 of this blog post series, I will have shared the entire debate transcript. Also, all names are abbreviated for privacy and brevity.
Evolution on the scale that you're talking about takes a long, long time. We've not been around long enough to witness such a change.
What we can see however is the evidence of that change left behind: fossils in the very oldest strata show more simplistic organisms than in later strata; fossils of species that don't exist anymore are found, and fossils of extant species do not exist throughout the entire fossil record. From those facts alone, we could propose two ideas: the first is that new species spring into existence at random, complex and fully-formed; the second idea is that those species shared common ancestors and evolved from earlier creatures.
Now, if we look at genetics, we can see that all organisms share common genetic elements, and we can follow those gene trails to trace an organisms 'family tree'. Thus, we can lend support to the latter idea over the former.
Finally, we know that offspring inherit traits from their parents (like the old cliche "he has his father's eyes") and that populations change over time as those traits are mixed, and we diversify our gene pool. So we can observe the mechanism that drives evolution in a small timescale, even though we can't directly observe macro-scale evolution in action, much like we can't watch mountains rise from the earth in real-time, but we can see the processes at work and the evidence of their action, and thus understand how it all works.
The evidence for evolution is like a crime scene; we may not have witnessed the crime in action, but we can examine the evidence it leaves behind to piece together what happened.
RC, I appreciate your honesty when you say “We’ve not been around long enough to witness such a change” and “…we may not have witnessed the crime in action…” Regarding your comment on fossils, see my responses to KY. I’ll add to that here and say why not consider a third option? If there really was a global, catastrophic flood about 4,300 years ago, we would expect to find billions of dead organisms buried in the order of ecological zone and elevation. That would explain why the lowest fossil-bearing sediments contain fossilized sea creatures, but you don’t find fossilized land animals until you move up to higher strata. (To learn more, see https://answersingenesis.org/fossils/fossil-record/order-in-the-fossil-record/).
Regarding your comment on genetics, I also addressed that in my response to KY. Creation scientists also expect to find genetic similarity due to common Designer rather than common ancestor.
Regarding inherited traits and gene pool diversity, these changes are easily explained by genetic recombination or even loss of genetic information. Natural selection is totally different from “molecules-to-man” evolution. (see the video clip within this article: https://answersingenesis.org/natural-selection/natural-selection-is-not-evolution/)
Regarding your last point: one way to have strong confidence in your interpretation of the crime scene evidence is to find a reliable witness. Christians have that reliable witness: God. God told us basic facts about the past in His Word, especially the book of Genesis. You and I have the same evidence in the present, but we have different interpretations of the evidence based on different presuppositions or “starting points.”
By the way, I appreciate the civil tone of your response.
RC responded toward the very end of the discussion and continued to exhibit a respectful tone. I will share that portion of the debate in Parts 9 and 10 of this blog post series.
Prior to RC's follow-up response, over a dozen more humanists commented on the thread, so those portions of the debate transcript encompasses Parts 5 through 8 of this blog post series.