I am always on the lookout for good resources on science and Christianity. And I found some. Well, Uncommon Descent found them, and I read their blog, so I found them too. The first four episodes are out, and the topics are: 1) introducing the Cambrian explosion, 2) pre-Cambrian fossils, 3) punctuated equilibrium, and 4) Darwin’s “tree of life”. Each video is 12-20 minutes long.
So, before we see the videos, I feel I should explain the outline for arguing for a creator / designer of the universe from scratch. There are six main arguments. 1) the origin of the universe from nothing, 2) fine-tuning of the creation event, 3) fine-tuning for habitability in the galaxy, solar system, and planet, 4) the origin of the first living self-replicating organism, 5) irreducible / minimal complexity in molecular machines, 6) the sudden origin of basic body plans in the Cambrian explosion (a geological period a long time ago).
These four videos introduce you to the sixth argument in that list, the Cambrian explosion.
First video: Introducing the Cambrian explosion
When Charles Darwin published “On the Origin of Species” in 1859, he was painstakingly aware of the fact that the fossil record diametrically opposed his theory. Ever since Darwin’s time, paleontologists have put their finger on the Cambrian explosion, where most of the major animal phyla appear abruptly in the fossil record suddenly and without any evidence of intermediate forms preceding them in Precambrian strata.
Second video: evaluating precursors to the Cambrian explosion
Are there transitional forms and Precambrian fossils which reveal the evolution of the diverse animal phyla that appear in the Cambrian explosion? The history of paleontology shows the answer is no! As paleontologists have learned more about the fossil and geological record, the challenge of the Cambrian explosion to Darwinian theory has only increased.
Third video: evaluating punctuated equilibrium
In the 1970s, paleontologists Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge proposed a model of evolution called punctuated equilibrium, intended to resolve the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record. Can “Punk Eek,” as it’s often called, resolve the abrupt appearance of new animal phyla in the Cambrian explosion? This video explains why the answer is No—among many other problems, Punk Eek requires too much evolutionary change too quickly and lacks a biological mechanism to account for the rapid origin of anatomical novelty we see in the Cambrian period.
Fourth video: evaluating homology and phylogenetics
As more scientists have realized that the fossil record poses serious challenges to Darwin’s theory of evolution, many have turned to molecular homologies and phylogenetic trees to defend Darwin’s tree of life. But do these approaches really support Darwin’s tree? Nope.
If you like these videos, you can read a much longer, more detailed book about it by Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, called “Darwin’s Doubt”. Or, you can do what I’m doing and just read a chapter about it in the new book “The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith“. That book covers all 6 of the arguments I mentioned before. You can see the table of contents on the Discovery Institute web site. The chapter by Dr. Gunter Bechly entitled “Does the Fossil Record Demonstrate Darwinian Evolution?” covers the fossil record, and the Cambrian explosion in particular. I like Gunter a LOT, because he had a recent debate on the Unbelievable show on this topic, and he really cleaned the clock of his opponent, a slippery theistic evolutionist named Joshua Swamidass. It was beautiful. He cut through all the theistic evolution garbage and got straight into the science.
I’m reading the book right now. Or rather, I’m having it read to me, because I got the audio book version. If you remember reading books like “Mere Creation” (1998) and “The Creation Hypothesis” (1994) as a young man like I do, then you will love this book.
I like to know a little about every interesting topic, and then watch lots of university lectures and formal debates about them, so I can debate these topics in the places where I live and work. The new book has a lot of different authors from a lot of different perspectives writing on a lot of different topics. You could find a way to talk about these topics in pretty much any environment.
So far, I like Dr. Fazale Rana’s chapter on Adam and Eve the best, but I’m still in Section I. I’m just starting on Jay Richards chapter next. Jay Richards is one of my favorite Christian scholars.