Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Cambrian Explosion is Best Explained by Intelligent Design

In the video The Cambrian Explosion, Stephen Meyer and Marcus Ross discuss the 80 page chapter The Cambrian Explosion: Biology's Big Bang written for the book Darwinism, Design and Public Education.

The Cambrian explosion refers to a period of time 530 million years ago when many animal phyla first appeared on earth. Biologists classify life according to a hierarchical organization of levels that include kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. A kingdom may contain one or more phyla, a phylum may contain one or more classes, and so forth. In the video, four reasons are given to explain why intelligent design is a better explanation for the Cambrian explosion than neo-Darwinism.

  1. Darwinian mechanisms cannot produce the information in DNA needed for the sudden appearance of new phyla that occurred during the Cambrian explosion, however intelligence can produce information.

    For Darwinism to work, there has to be a series of single mutations that lead from one species to another where each mutation provides greater fitness. Theoretical research shows that because of the way proteins work, this is impossible. It is prohibitively improbable that the individual mutations needed to produce a new function would increase fitness if they occurred one at a time. Multiple simultaneous mutations that could increase fitness by producing new functions are also too improbable to occur.

    Furthermore, to create the significant changes in body plan needed to create a new phylum, a mutation would have to affect early embryo development. Such mutations are usually fatal so it is also vastly improbable that a sequence of individual mutations could cause increasing fitness as they changed the body plan of a species.

    Also, epigenetic information, information not encoded in the DNA, is required for embryonic development and cell function. There is no plausible theory that explains how epigenetic information can be produced naturally.

  2. Darwinism predicts new phyla should evolve from existing species but the fossil record shows the new phyla appearing without ancestors. This sudden appearance is what one would expect if the new phyla were created by a designing intelligence. There are sufficient fossils of soft bodied animals from before the Cambrian explosion that if the phyla that appeared during the Cambrian explosion had ancestors, fossils of them would have been found.

  3. Darwinism predicts that new phyla will arise as new species repeatedly branch off and diversify until a new species is so different that it merits classification as a new phylum. Therefore there should be many species existing when a new phylum arises. However contrary to these predictions of Darwinism, during the Cambrian explosion, many new phyla arose but there were relatively few species at the time. This dearth of species is exactly what would be expected if the new phyla were created by a designing intelligence.

  4. Darwinism predicts existing phyla should produce new phyla as species branch off and diversify until a new species is so different it merits classification as a new phylum. However no phylum has ever produced a species so different that it could be classified as a new phylum. But this is exactly what we expect from designed objects, cars change each year but do not become airplanes.

Because of these four ways neo-Darwinism fails to explain features of the Cambrian explosion that are more consistent with intelligent design, intelligent design is a better explanation of the Cambrian explosion than neo-Darwinism.

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