Extinction Does Not Signify a Poor Designer
In the 2006 discussion/debate between Peter Ward and Stephen Meyer, Dr. Ward introduces the old argument that extinction points towards an intelligent designing agent that is a poor engineer, creating living organisms that degrade over time.
This is my opinion is another example of lazy thinking.
If the living world is to progress from the single-cell bacteria 3.8-billion years ago, to human beings today having roughly 215 different cell-types, on an ever-increasing, upward sloping incline of complexity, we should recognize extinction as a necessary component in this progression.
Where and how would all of the previous life-forms co-exist on the planet earth having limited terrain?
This is like suggesting that the 405 freeway in Los Angeles could have all of the previous automobiles from the Ford Model-T until today, all competing for a limited number of lanes that does not adequately accommodate even today’s rush-hour traffic of modern automobiles.
As long as the genetic information content is maintained and passed-along, and the prior fitness of the external environment keeps pace with the introduction of new architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits over the long expanse of geological history, then extinction is not a validly negative criticism of designing agency, but instead is a brilliant management of integrated and coordinated realities.
Darwinian Evolution Today Has Withstood the Test of 160-plus Years of Research
In this 2006 debate, Dr. Peter Ward also makes the old argument that Darwin’s theory of macroevolution has withstood the test-of- time for what in 2006 was about 147 years, compared to only about 10 years at that time for the relatively new and barely tested concept of Intelligent Design.
This again is lazy thinking.
Historically, the truth-value of a new scientific hypothesis is not judged by its length of time in existence or by a majority consensus of its adherents…although these things are important factors.
Enumerable examples over the course of the modern Scientific Revolution can be cited of new hypotheses that were unpopular and vigorously disputed by its contemporaries, only to be exonerated by confirming evidence uncovered through continued research and analysis.
The statement that historical Darwinism has withstood the test-of-time is simply not true.
Disconfirming difficulties have been around since the time of the introduction of the concept of macroevolution, starting with Darwin himself in recognizing the absence of transitional intermediate precursors in the fossil record at the Precambrian geological rock strata, that he believed with further digging would be unearthed to support his theory.
It is a fact of history that paleontologists were the first scientists to be skeptical of Darwin’s theory, because they already knew that the fossil record did not support an unbroken chain of ever-increasing complexity through the small-step, incremental progression of “nature makes no sudden leaps.”
160-plus years of continued search for the enumerable transitional intermediates needed to support the concept of macroevolutionary development, have not only turned-up empty, but have instead identified clear discontinuities in the fossil record that support the contrary notions of explosions of new innovative life-forms without lead-up, connecting intermediates.
A discontinuity in the fossil record is a gap between the introduction of a new life-form into existence that has no connection to a preceding precursor, no lead-up of transitional intermediates that would provide a seamless connection to past life-forms.
Here I am borrowing from an Internet presentation by Gunter Bechly on discontinuities in the fossil record.
Some examples of discontinuities in the fossil record are as follows.
The origin of life dated at 4.1 billion years ago (bya).
The Late Heavy Bombardment (4.1-3.8 bya), during which the earth was hit with large meteors that evaporated the oceans several times. Yet evidence for primitive life starting and stopping during these ocean evaporations exists at this time, arguing against the notion that primitive life developed over a much longer, continuous period of time.
The Origin of Photosynthesis (3.8 bya), with marine algae forming just after the oceans stop evaporating due to meteor strikes.
The Avalon Explosion (575-564 mya) having the appearance of the Ediacaran assemblages, exhibiting the “glide symmetry” of non-symmetrical body-plans (not bilateral) being exclusively unique to this time-period, becoming extinct and never appearing again.
The Cambrian Explosion (535-515 mya) during which 21 of the 28 known bilaterian animal phyla appear suddenly without transitional precursors.
The Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event (485-460 mya) being a massive increase in the biodiversity of marine invertebrates such as corals, mollusks, and brachiopods, referred to as life’s second Big Bang, having no preceding precursors.
The Silurian-Devonian Radiation of Terrestrial Biotas (427-393 mya) of land plants, necessary for animal life to develop on land. This is considered to be equivalent to the Cambrian Explosion of marine faunas in terms of the sudden appearance of new innovative structures.
The Devonian Nekton Revolution (410-400 mya) introduced active swimmers in the oceans, jawed fish, and reversed the ocean ecosystems from predominantly plankton to predominantly fish.
The Odontode Explosion (425-415 mya) introduced teeth in jawed fish, along with vertebrates and sharks.
The Carboniferous Insect Explosion (325-314/307 mya) introduced all of the groups of flying insets appearing suddenly without precursors including beetles, flies, and cockroaches.
The Triassic Explosions, after the Permian mass extinction (252 mya). This period also includes the Tetrapod Radiation (251-240 mya), the Marine Reptile Radiation (248-240 mya), the Gliding/Flying Reptile Radiation (230-228 mya), and the sudden appearance of dinosaurs in the Upper Triassic.
The Origin of Flowering Plants (130-115 mya) during the Cretaceous period of complex structures abruptly appearing fully formed, which Darwin called the “abominable mystery.”
The Radiation of Placental Mammals (62-49 mya) after the K-Pg-Impact. During this time bats appear in the Eocene around 52.5 mya, along with carnivores and whales.
The Radiation of Modern Birds (65-55 mya) after the K-Pg-Impact, consisting of all of the major groups of birds.
Finally, the Upper Paleolithic Human Revolution (65,000-35,000 years ago) is also called a Big Bang because there is no gradual transition between Australopithecus to Homo sapiens.
All of these discontinuities in the fossil record are examples of sudden leaps forward in terms of new life-forms having no lead-up transitional precursors, that would be required to support a model based entirely upon the unbroken chain of common descent through small-step gradualism.
The empirical evidence requires both common descent and the addition of an intelligent designing agent to invent the information content in DNA, to turn genetic regulatory network circuits on and off to produce a lion or an elephant, and to break specified genes at the exact geological time to produce a polar bear from a grizzly bear.
The amazing fact that was missed by Darwin in formulating his theory based in part by observing the variant traits of the finches on Galapagos, naturally selected for fit and function in the varied ecosystems of each of these islands, is that none of these finch birds exhibited a large number of variant traits that resulted in numerous failed trials.
The idea that the variety exhibited in these finches was analogous to the trial-and-error concept of throwing something against a wall to see what sticks, is a factual observation that Darwin missed in the hypothetical extrapolation from microevolutionary change to innovatively creative macroevolution.
We can have common descent and divine creative input to explain the vast diversity of life, but not though the worldview of naturalistic materialism.
The incredibly tight tolerances required to integrate and coordinate all of the factors needed to support life on earth, are too complex for the worldview of naturalistic materialism.
 Fossil Discontinuities: Refutation of Darwinism & Confirmation of Intelligent Design—Gunter Bechly, published Oct. 11, 2018 on You Tube by FOCLOnline.