To show how futile T-Stone’s efforts would be, I am going to employ an over-simplification of the problem. If the theory, even stated in such an obviously simplified manner, is hard (read: impossible) to prove, then it is going to be even more difficult to prove it from the complicated reality.
Let us begin as simply as possible. Suppose that T-Stone finds two fossils of the same species. What type of fossils these are doesn’t really matter, but for the purposes of illustration let’s say they’re Cothurnocystis fossils (yes, I just wanted to include a "big word" here to give T-Stone something else to do a trivial Google search on). Let us also argue that, due to the rock strata they are discovered in, T-Stone knows for a fact which one of the fossils is older than the other fossil.
These fossils can fit somewhere on a “typical” genealogical branch:
But where do they fit in there? Is it possible for T-Stone to prove that one fossil is a descendant of the other? The answer is a resounding: no. Let us look at this. Suppose that the fossils are descendants of one another. In such a case, we’d have something looking like:
But it could just as easily be something like:
In fact, the odds that two fossils are actually in a direct lineage are small when you consider how many thousands of members of each species actually exist, and how many offspring come from each of these organisms. So right off the bat, we see that T-Stone cannot even prove two fossils are in direct lineage with each other.
If we cannot prove that two fossils of the same species are direct descendants, how can we demonstrate that a fossil of another species is directly descended from the previous fossil? Obviously we cannot.
One way that Darwinists avoid this problem is to ignore the direct lineage problem within the species itself. That is, the Darwinist will take each of the two fossils found for the same species as representative of the whole. Thus, the two Cothurnocystis fossils are arbitrarily allowed to stand for any of the points along the genealogical chart. This is because the species, as a whole, shares aspects; and thus, the Darwinists claims, we can treat each individual as typical of the whole.
Aside from the fact that this commits the error of composition and becomes a hasty generalization, it doesn’t really solve the problem for the evolutionist. After all, now instead of having individuals in the chart, we have entire species. If each dot represents an entire species instead of individuals within a species, we still cannot tell if fossils from two different species, a Cothurnocystis fossil and a more modern echinoderm (like a starfish) for instance, are direct descendants either. In other words, is the relationship direct:
The Darwinist cannot say.
But there is another problem with these diagrams. The problem is that everything that is black in the diagrams is pure conjecture. That’s right; the relationships between various fossils are purely human invention. There is nothing in the fossil record that shows the links between the fossils.
As such, the relationship between two fossils is found only in the imagination of humans who interpret the fossil record. The fossil record does not show these relationships, for it is possible that there is yet another alternative explanation:
That’s right; the second fossil might not be related to the first fossil at all. Without being able to show the direct links, we have only the conjecture that there is a link.
But what is the conjecture based on? The conjecture is based on having already accepted the theory of Darwinistic Evolution as true. That is, the links between fossils are “discovered” only when one first assumes this kind of evolution is true. There is nothing in the fossil evidence that indicates whether there is a direct link, indirect link, or no link at all between two fossils. The evidence is not sufficient to say which one it is.
As such, my original comment—the one way back on the comments on this post still stands. I originally said:
Evolutionary claims are completely independent of the fossil record. Consider what the fossil record shows and compare that to the evolutionary theory.Evolution cannot be proven from the fossil record, because one can never show the direct lineage between two fossils of the same species, let alone between two different species. The Darwinist claims that they don’t need to show direct lineage between specific individuals can only be true if one first assumes Darwinian Evolution. In other words, belief in Evolution precedes this interpretation of the fossil record.
The fossil record shows only organisms that existed at some point in the past. That is it. It says nothing about the relationship between organisms--that is left to extrapolation.
Evolution, on the other hand, needs a process by which it can function (genetic mutation followed by natural selection). Mutations cannot be demonstrated by fossils since mutations require looking at DNA. Likewise, natural selection cannot be demonstrated by the fossil record either (except when natural selection is taken in its completely irrelevant tautological sense).
So the theory of evolution is quite independent of the fossil record. The fossil record is only used as a prop. The claim is that the fossil record is what we would expect given evolution. But as I pointed out above, given the inability to recreate this (due to the massive amount of time and the pure randomness of fossil formation), this claim is anything but empirical.
So at most, all the fossil record can be used for is to say that it is consistent with evolutionary theory. But then, the fossil record is so spotty that it is "consistent" with virtually any theory.
With this in mind, T-Stone should now return to ferrying his children to baseball games and drop this matter completely.