The Cambrian Explosion

In the Cambrian Explosion of 530 million years ago, the information that went into the body plans of complex creatures appearing suddenly in the fossil record, without any previous transitional intermediates found in the Precambrian rock layers below the Cambrian level other than very small sponge-like creatures, represents a top-down arrangement of information…not a bottom-up arrangement of gradually simple to complex.  In the Cambrian Explosion, the bulk of body-plan information is front-loaded at the beginning of the emergence of life-forms on earth 530 million years ago, creating most of the recognizably distinct groupings of well-defined characteristics in living creatures that form the basis for the modern scientific fields of classification and taxonomy today.

This sudden appearance of bizarre, complex, stranger than fiction, Cambrian creatures possessing most of the body-plan features of modern phyla groups still in existence today, during what scientists believe to be a 5 to 10 million year period (about 2 percent of the 530 year total for complex life on earth), is in direct contradiction to the macroevolution half of Darwin’s original thinking proposed in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species. The hard, empirical evidence for the sudden appearance in the fossil record of fully formed, complex creatures requiring the input of upfront design information is in complete contradiction to the contrary notion of gradual, incremental genetic and physical body-plan improvements generated over long periods of time.

The Cambrian Explosion likewise refutes the idea of the blind, random chance mechanism of cumulative natural selection acting upon a series of infinitesimally small genetic mutations to create the vast diversity of life on earth.  The geologically brief time period of 5 to 10 million years for generating the functionally beneficial accumulation of the large numbers of required variations, without the lead-up presence of transitional intermediates in the Precambrian rock strata as developmental precursors, is scientifically considered to be much too short for gradualistic development.

In other words, the jump from tiny sponge fossil embryos in the Precambrian period, to jellyfish, sponges, and Ediacaran plants at the transition from Precambrian to Cambrian, to complex creatures in the Cambrian having compound eyes, spinal cords, nervous systems, skeletons, and predator/prey relationships…with exotic names like Marrella, Opabinia, Wiwaxia, Hallucigenia, Anomalocaris, and Trilobite, should reveal a long, continuous progression of clearly intermediate transitional forms.  The Precambrian fossils reveal instead only a large void where these intermediates should be prevalent and numerous.

The paradigm shifting discovery in 1929 by Edwin Hubble of the “red shift” in the light spectrum coming from distant stars in the cosmos that first postulated an expanding universe, led to the unavoidable conclusion of the Big Bang creation of the universe at a single point in time around 13.7 billion years ago.  This discovery carried with it the logical need to also postulate a transcendent, intelligent creator outside of time and material space capable of bringing the universe into being.  The unimaginably vast information content that went into the near instantaneous creation of the universe, including all of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and time itself, was likewise front-loaded into the Big Bang within the first split-seconds of creation.  This again is an example of the insertion of top-down information which requires an explanation of where the information came from and how was it first introduced so precisely into reality.

Another major mystery of nature still unsolved today which refutes the gradualistic premise of Darwinian macroevolution is the dilemma of which came first in the microscopic structure of the living cell…the DNA or the protein.  The information contained within the DNA molecule is required to construct proteins, but proteins are required to manufacture DNA.  People have attempted to imagine a scenario where transitionally incomplete versions of DNA construct transitional, imperfect proteins, or the other way around, but the errors in transcription and translation of the coded genetic information would lead to auto-destruction rather than increasingly beneficial development.  Like a poor quality photocopy machine, each copy would get more out-of-focus in detail and resolution rather than clearer and brighter with each successive copy.

The recent “RNA world” approach has also turned out to be an unsatisfactory dead-end explanation for the origin of life, as RNA molecules do not have the complex capacity to fulfill the vast number and variety of functions that DNA, proteins, and amino acids can perform.

The DNA, the proteins, and all of the surrounding biological machinery in the living cell must be up and fully functioning at the outset for complex life like plants, trees, insects, fish, birds, mammals, and human beings to exist.

We do not find any “simpler” transitional versions of DNA anywhere in the living world.  The abbreviated four letter alphabet A, T, G, and C combinations of nucleic acids that comprises DNA is the same in plants, trees, bacteria, and in mammals like elephants and human beings.  Yet the enormous gap in complexity in the information content of DNA going from nonexistent pre-DNA to fully functional DNA, in small incremental steps, is like taking a running leap across the Grand Canyon in small incremental jumps.  The huge gulf in traversing the path to fully functioning DNA and proteins in living cells, through gradualism, is difficult to envision even through the use of theoretical, creative imagination.

This top-down arrangement of complex information that is specified towards a definite function, in the biology of the living world, has to be in place at the front-end of their initial existence to establish function, and not gradually and progressively developed over long periods of time as Darwin postulated in the biology of living things through common descent.

Author: Barton Jahn

I work in building construction as a field superintendent and project manager. I have four books published by McGraw-Hill on housing construction (1995-98) under Bart Jahn, and have six Christian books self-published through Create Space KDP. I have a bachelor of science degree in construction management from California State University Long Beach. I grew up in Southern California, was an avid surfer, and am fortunate enough to have always lived within one mile of the ocean. I discovered writing at the age of 30, and it is now one of my favorite activities. I am currently working on two more books on building construction.

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