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Bechly: Darwinian Evolution and the Problem of the Collector’s Curve

David Klinghoffer

I have a weakness for hearing important truths stated not just authoritatively but concisely, rather than going on and on. Here is a gem of an example.

In under three minutes, our paleontologist colleague Günter Bechly neatly answers the question, “How complete is the current fossil record and what does that tell us about the theory of evolution?” He explains the idea of a collector’s curve, and why the problem of that record for Darwinian evolution, recognized by Charles Darwin and elaborated in Steve Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt, has become ever more severe as scientific discovery progresses:

Darwinian evolution would predict that new body plans originated in a stepwise process with small changes adding up to big differences. But what we find in the fossil record is abrupt appearance in a kind of top-down pattern. New body plans appear abruptly in the fossil record. We also do not find the required gradual species-to-species transitions.

Darwin himself could take refuge in an “Evolution of the Gaps” scenario where confirmation of his theory would emerge with time. Modern Darwinists don’t have that luxury. As the gaps close, the contradiction between expectations and evidence becomes increasingly undeniable. It closes like a vise around the Darwinian understanding of life’s history.

David Klinghoffer

Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and the editor of Evolution News & Science Today, the daily voice of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, reporting on intelligent design, evolution, and the intersection of science and culture. Klinghoffer is also the author of six books, a former senior editor and literary editor at National Review magazine, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications. Born in Santa Monica, California, he graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an A.B. magna cum laude in comparative literature and religious studies. David lives near Seattle, Washington, with his wife and children.

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“evolution of the gaps”Cambrian Newscollector's curveDarwin's DoubtDarwinian theoryfossil recordGünter BechlypaleontologyStephen Meyer