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How Complete Is the Record?
However, is the fossil record complete enough for a fair test of whether it is a creation or evolution that finds support? Over a century ago, Darwin did not think so. What was "wrong" with the fossil record in his time? It did not contain the transitional links required to support his theory. The fossil record in Darwin's day proved disappointing to him. Darwin attempted to explain these huge problems by attacking the fossil record. He said, "I look at the geological record as a history of the world imperfectly kept, imperfect to an extreme degree." It was assumed by him and others that as time passed the missing fossil links surely would be found. Now after well over a century of extensive digging, vast numbers of fossils have been unearthed. Is the record still so "imperfect"? Smithsonian Institution scientist Porter Kier adds, "There are a hundred million fossils, all catalogued and identified, in museums around the world." Hence, A Guide to Earth History declares, "By the aid of fossils palaeontologists can now give us an excellent picture of the life of past ages."
After all this time and the assembling of millions of fossils, what does the record now say? Steven Stanley states that these fossils "reveal new and surprising things about our biological origins". What is it that is so "surprising" about the fossil record? What has confounded evolutionary scientists is the fact that the massive fossil evidence now available reveals the very same thing that it did in Darwin's day: basic kinds of living beings appeared suddenly and did not change appreciably for long periods of time. No transitional links between one major kind of living thing and another have ever been found. So what the fossil record says is just the opposite of what was expected.Professor of Natural Science John N. Moore reported, "...some 120 scientists, all specialists, prepared 30 chapters in a monumental work of over 800 pages to present the fossil record for plants and animals divided into about 2500 groups. Each major form or kind of plant and animal is shown to have a separate and distinct history from all the other forms or kinds! Groups of both plants and animals appear suddenly in the fossil record.... Whales, bats, horses, primates, elephants, hares, squirrels, etc., are all as distinct at their first appearance as they are now."Swedish botanist Heribert Nilsson after 40 years of his own research described: "The fossil material is now so complete that ¦•• the lack of transitional series cannot be explained as due to the scarcity of material. The deficiencies are real, they will never be filled." (Synthetische Artbildiing (The Synthetic Origin of Species) by Heribert Nilson)