The Creation Explanation
|The Primeval World -- Fossils, Geology & Earth History|
Evolution and Extinction Why?
Fossil remains of several thousand kinds of extinct reptiles have been discovered as well as even larger numbers of mammals, plus vast numbers of species of all the other types of animals. Many of them, such as those just described, were immense, some very small, other very bizarre. Several questions come to mind in relation to these creatures.
First, if they were the product of evolutionary development, can the theory of evolution provide a rational, detailed explanation of why and how they evolved? The answer is that the evolutionary explanations are very incomplete and unsatisfactory. What, for example, is the adaptive advantage of a plant-eating mammal eighteen feet high and weighing twenty-five tons? The reality of the assumed history of evolution is accepted by faith. It is not possible to devise experimental tests which potentially could falsify the theory. Unverifiable explanations can always be imagined for inconsistencies or gaps in the fossil record. In the words of Birch and Ehrlich, "Our theory of evolution has become...one which cannot be refuted by any possible observations. Every conceivable observation can be fitted into it. It is thus 'outside of empirical science' but not necessarily false. No one can think of ways in which to test it."96
A related question is whether or not the evolutionary time scale affords enough time to make the alleged evolutionary changes seem plausible. Again, the immense number of supposed mutations and the time required for natural selection to operate would appear to demand much more time than the currently accepted age of the earth makes available.
Finally, what happened to all of these creatures; why did they become extinct? For a century baffled theorists of evolution have framed numerous speculations in fruitless attempts to explain this mystery. But no particular explanation seems to satisfy all of the experts. In recent years David Raup and others have promoted the theory that a massive asteroid collided with the earth, and the resulting cloud cover of dust produced a deadly winter effect which wiped out dinosaurs and many other species of animals and plants at the close of the Cretaceous era. But after this idea became popular it has come into competition with the idea that such a dust-caused winter was produced by massive volcanic eruptions. Will one of these theories survive to conquer all? The mystery remains. But it is no mystery to those scientists who believe in creation conceive that each of the communities represented in the fossil record was quickly overwhelmed and buried by a world-wide flood. In this view, dinosaurs and other extinct creatures were destroyed in a cataclysmic global flood; and some species on the Ark failed to survive in the changed earth environment after the flood.
From the fossils of creatures buried at the time of the flood some limited knowledge can be gained of the conditions the earth before the flood. Evidence from fossils indicates that the antediluvian world was largely tropical in climate. Global atmospheric conditions were probably quite different from the present, being more uniform and characterized by higher humidity and moderate temperatures. Relatively few deleterious gene had accumulated in the gene pools of populations of the various kinds of creatures, compared with today, thousands of years later. This relatively smaller "genetic load," of bad mutations, in conjunction with the different atmospheric conditions and the possibly much lower incidence of cosmic radiation, permitted much longer life-spans for man and some other creatures than are normal in modern times.
According to this view, the post-flood climate was greatly altered to approximate modern conditions. This, together with the large quantity of mutations accumulated subsequent to the flood, brought about the shortening of human life-span and the gradual extinction of some life forms which populated the earth immediately after the flood. The extensive glaciation of the polar regions, large remnants of which still exist, occurred probably a substantial period of time after the flood, for reasons explained above in Section 3.f of the outline of the flood model for earth history. Then as the glaciers gradually receded and the surface effects of the flood disappeared or were altered by weathering, erosion, and sedimentation, and by volcanic activity and earth movements at normally much lower modern rates, the earth was re-populated and ancient human history began to unfold, now decipherable in the data of archaeology. Finally written history began to leave permanent records based on human observation, rather than on the circumstantial evidence extracted from the stones and dust.
96. Birch, L.C. and Paul R. Ehrlich, Nature, Vol. 214, 22 April 1967, p. 349.