How exactly does the fossil record disprove evolution? For many years
teachers have said that it is evolutions greatest strength for proving
that all life originated from one common ancestor.

First, your intuition that the fossil record does not strongly support the
atheistic theory of evolution is good. Second, the person who said that
the fossil record is the strongest evidence in support of evolution is
probably wrong. I would say that the evidence from plant and animal DNA is
the strongest support for evolution.

Evolution theory, as most commonly stated, requires very slow and gradual
changes over very long periods of time. The fossil record should have an
enormous number of transitional fossils between species. The actual fossil
record contains huge gaps with no known transitional fossil in many cases.
Besides, the evidence is more in favor of a seemingly sudden appearance of
a species followed by very little change over very long periods of time.
Besides, the Cambrian explosion, which occurred about 540 million years
ago reveals dramatic appearance of amazing complexity in life where in
virtually zero geologic time before that there were only extremely simple
life forms.

On balance, the fossil evidence does appear to agree with at least some
evolution having occurred, but to claim that it strongly supports all life
evolving from some initial creations is to overstate very much.

But then there is the DNA evidence. This tends to more strongly support
evolution. For example, humans and apes have very similar DNA. In general,
species which are closer cousins in the supposed evolutionary tree have
more similar DNA. Of course, there is some circular reasoning here because
not biologists tend to determine how closely two species are related, not
so much by similarity of appearance of physiology as by the similarity in
DNA. Nevertheless, one will have to admit that DNA evidence in general
supports at least in the broadest sense, the idea of evolution.

However, this brings one to the problem of the mechanism of evolution. Can
random helpful mutation events explain how species change? Of does one
need to invoke some sort of outside, directing hand to explain the changes
in species over time. But that is another question….

For further discussion, see my book Is There a God, which can be found at Also, see the articles at this web site under the
heading God and the subheading Articles on Evolution as well as Articles
on Design.

John M. Oakes, Ph.D.

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