I made an answer this morning to "Does 'The Fossil Record' Support Evolution?"

Moderator @Oddthinking removed my answer, citing lack of references and a primarily theoretical core argument. This is perfectly sensible, and I responded by providing references.

Following my addition of references and the addition of a fully referenced version of my theoretical core argument, I flagged the answer for un-delete, and there has not been any activity for several hours.

Acknowledging that purely theoretical arguments and purely speculative arguments are similar in fundamental ways, I have cited Dr. Stephen Jay Gould (2004) in order to present my theoretical argument. If this isn't on-topic, I would kindly ask the moderators why that would be the case.

Also, I do not wish to express impatience primarily: an answer to this meta-question of "we'll get around to it" would be acceptable, I think.


1 Answer 1


Honestly that's a rather old question and I'd let it be. Such a question would be closed today without much discussion because the way it's formulated is very subjective. Does the fossil record support evolution sufficiently? No one really cares - in Science we disprove stuff with evidence, we don't "prove" it.

Clearly evolution has tons of evidence backing it, including, but not only fossils - so the question itself is pretty terrible, it's a typical creationist strawman.

That said, I don't understand your answer: you give 8 definitions of evolution but provide no evidence that they are a valid and complete set of definitions. You don't establish what constitutes "enough" evidence. You provide some links for each definition but I'm not sure what you are trying to say -- perhaps adding a relevant sentence from the source could clarify.

In the end you go through the 8 definitions and answer the question for each of them, also without any evidence.

As I read it, this seems like your personal opinion on the matter, and so I think there's still work to do before it's undeleted.

  • I don't know that the list is complete, but I was hoping that my references show that they are valid. The examples where I give titles but no sentences are referencing the titles themselves; the abstracts actually don't include the word "evolution". Nov 12, 2018 at 23:26
  • But the titles do! Nov 12, 2018 at 23:27
  • I think my hope is to give an answer that reworks the question through clarification into something answerable. Nov 12, 2018 at 23:27
  • ...and it seems that Dr. Gould has given a theoretical answer to the most answerable aspect: "Do fossils provide sufficient evidence that evolution provides an explanation for all of life's diversity?" Nov 12, 2018 at 23:28
  • ...Dr. Gould's answer (that I reference) is that it would be harder to explain evidence to the contrary (of FPSETEPAEFAOLD) than to explain why fossils don't provide evidence that FPSETEPAEFAOLD. Nov 12, 2018 at 23:30
  • Why is this "not harder"? Because Darwin, or any proponent of FPSETEPAEFAOLD, must simply state that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and the burden of proof is lifted. Nov 12, 2018 at 23:31
  • It's a theoretical answer that Gould employs in 2002. Nov 12, 2018 at 23:32
  • I don't know what you are saying really, but reversing the onus of proof never proves anything. Either the fossil record is consistent with the theory of evolution or it isn't. It turns out it is. Is it sufficient to "prove it"? No one ever claimed it was sufficient... not even Darwin.
    – Sklivvz
    Nov 12, 2018 at 23:42
  • That's what I'm saying! A good answer to the question will acknowledge that there is no test applied to the fossil record seeking total confirmation of "FPSETEPAEFAOLD". Nov 12, 2018 at 23:44
  • And I'm using the acronym because it's narrow and specific, unlike "proving evolution". Nov 12, 2018 at 23:44
  • Further to Sklivvz concerns that you "provide no evidence that they are a valid and complete set of definitions", I will go further. Your definitions are invalid and incomplete. None of them address "change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations" - with populations being a key word. Many of them distract with non-biological uses of the term. Many of them confuse consequences (speciation, adaption) and related terms (artificial selection, abiogenesis) with the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Nov 13, 2018 at 0:18
  • @Oddthinking, I would have been surprised if the definition you provided wasn't covered by "descent with modification", i.e. descent (successive generations of creatures) with modifications (change in characteristics) (...that could only be heritable). That's "definition 1" in my answer. Nov 13, 2018 at 14:56
  • @Oddthinking, you say that I answer the question for each of 8 definitions... actually I only attempt to answer the question for one of the eight definitions (or that's what I was trying to do...) ...fossils are inapplicable to all 7 of the other definitions. Nov 13, 2018 at 15:16
  • @elliotsvensson: And yet it isn't covered by your first definition which is about "what happens when a Poodle and a Cocker Spaniel have puppies together" - i.e. Mendelevium inheritance - and not the change in populations of traits. But let's bring it back to the point: your answer didn't show that your definitions were valid and complete.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Nov 13, 2018 at 15:20
  • 2
    Even Darwin looked at the fossils, but then went on a world tour to look at the then current biome to determine examples of evolution though natural selection. That the fossils must be enough is the imaginary invention of someone who certainly knows little about the subject.
    – Sklivvz
    Nov 14, 2018 at 17:10

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