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It is said by people opposed to Evolution, that the fossil record contradicts and disproves it. They say all the animals suddenly appeared, exploded everywhere, were fully formed, had no transitions, no gradualism, no change, and no sign of an evolutionary trend by which they could have emerged from an earlier type.

They then use these quotes to back this up from Evolutionists themselves:

"All the larger groups of animals, e.g. fishes, amphibians, reptiles, mammals seem to have appeared suddenly on the earth, spreading themselves, so to speak, in an explosive manner in their various shapes and forms. Nowhere is one able to observe or prove the transition of one species into another, variation only being possible within the species themselves" Evolutionist, Max Westenhofer as quoted in Dewar's More Difficulties, p. 94

"The evidence of Geology today is that species seem to come into existence suddenly and in full perfection, remain substantially unchanged during the terms of their existence, and pass away in full perfection. Other species take their place, apparently by substitution, not by transmutation" Geologist, Joseph Le Conte

"The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology (study of fossils). In any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors, it appears all at once and fully formed." -- Dr. Stephen J. Gould, Prof of Geology and Paleontology, Harvard University. Mentioned in one of his regular columns in Natural History Magazine (1977) and also in The Panda's Thumb, 1980, p. 181-182

"different species usually appear and disappear from the record without showing the transitions that Darwin postulated -- we are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn't changed much -- We have fewer examples of evolutionary transitions than we had in Darwins' time" Dr. David Raup, a paleontologist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Field Museum Natural History Bulletin 50:22- 29

"Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them" Dr. David B. Kitts, Paleontologist

"The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition" Evolutionist, Dr. Steven M. Stanley

"The record certainly did not reveal gradual transformations of structure in the course of time. On the contrary, it showed that species generally remained constant throughout their history. New types or classes seemed to appear fully formed, with no sign of an evolutionary trend by which they could have emerged from an earlier type." Bowler, 'Evolution: The History of an Idea', 1984, p. 187

"We are still in the dark about the origin of most major groups of organisms. They appear in the fossil record as Athena did from the head of Zeus -- full-blown and raring to go, in contradiction to Darwin's depiction of evolution as resulting from the gradual accumulation of countless infinitesimally minute variations, which, in turn, demands that the fossil record preserve an unbroken chain of transitional forms." Jeffrey H. Schwartz, Sudden Origins: Fossils, Genes, and the Emergence of Species (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1999)

Is this true? If not, why not? Does the fossil record prove or disprove Evolution?

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closed as off-topic by Mad Scientist Aug 20 at 8:50

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This related question is relevant: biology.stackexchange.com/questions/5138/… –  Oreotrephes Aug 20 at 2:06
    
It also seems to be pretty directly answered on Skeptics here skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/101/… and here: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/3481/… –  Oreotrephes Aug 20 at 2:11
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Questions about creationist arguments are off-topic here. Specific questions about evolution are certainly welcome, creationist talking points not so much. –  Mad Scientist Aug 20 at 8:50
    
The fossil record is spotty, very few organisms are ever fossilized upon death, so we see a small sampling of evolution. If you had a digital image of the mona lisa and removed 99% of the pixels, it would hard to recognize, especially if you looked at 1 pixel at a time. Might be doable from far away. –  user137 Aug 20 at 16:39

1 Answer 1

Fossil records are fossil records. The people who use them to attempt to prove or disprove evolution use them to represent their causes in different ways, gleaning sometimes completely contradictory facts from the same bodies of information, sometimes even the same samples. It is my personal belief that evolution isn't ever entirely phyletic, I like to imagine that once in a while a pup would be born or an egg would crack open and there'd be a malformed creature in there the likes of which the world has never seen, if only because its deformity has made it more adaptable or stronger to its environment, not the opposite which is usually the case with birth defects. And then yes this prototype would survive and find a mate and have offspring with its varied genes dominating, some same, some different, and begin the phyletic process.

But that's not the answer to your question. Your question isn't really answerable. Fossil records only prove that a creature once lived at that time period, and its bone structure and posture can reveal certain things to any observer, but they dont prove or disprove anything. A great deal of the works you quote speak on the topic with great finality, yet they are decades old.

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Well, at least the fossil record is completely compatible with the predictions made by evolutionary theory. In so far, it definitely does not disprove evolution. –  Hav0k Aug 20 at 13:06
    
While I agree with you completely, I try to be as objective as possible. There are people out there who have attempted to use the fossil record to disprove evolution and I know at least a few souls who are proof of their success. –  Ross Wilkins Aug 22 at 4:12

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