Today at the Design of Life blog: Big Bangs in biology
Apparently, it’s not just physics that starts things off with a bang. Life forms have done that too, and with equal drama.
Mammals, birds, and flowers have their big bang events.
The science literature, as well as the popular science press, assumes that an adequate fossil record must show a long, gradual series of transitions from simple to ever more complex life forms, powered by survival of the fittest. That is what the Darwin's theory of evolution predicts, and therefore it is what researchers are encouraged - and trained - to look for. When confronted by the sudden appearance of complexity, they assume that their evidence is exceptional, not normal.
In reality, the only reason we have for believing that these transitional life forms ever existed is Darwin's theory. And Darwin's theory depends on their discovery.
As we might expect, every so often, paleontologists do find an apparent transitional fossil. And there is much rejoicing in the popular science media that Darwin's theory is confirmed. However, the overall pattern of fossil finds does not confirm his theory.
So what should we do?
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