By Natural Philosopher Mike Prestwood

Does the absence of evidence prove anything?

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God of the Gaps < Logical Fallacies < Four Mind Traps < TST Framework < Critical Thinking

Does the absence of complete fossil records disprove evolution?

Absolutely not! Let’s explore…

The absence of complete fossil records does not disprove evolution any more than missing pieces in a jigsaw puzzle disprove the existence of the completed picture. Evolution isn’t built on what we haven’t found, it stands on a mountain of evidence we have found.

Think of the fossil record as a movie of Earth’s history, where we have thousands of still frames, but not every one. Each fossil we found fits together in a way that conclusively proves the progression of life forms over billions of years. Evolution is also backed by genetic evidence, biogeography, and other evidence. So, rather than seeing the gaps as missing links, they’re more like missing puzzle pieces that don’t stop us from understanding the big picture. In fact, the excitement of science lies in searching for these missing pieces we know are there.

Also, here’s the thing about fossils: they’re like winning the lottery for dead things. The conditions for something to become a fossil are super rare. Statistically less than one in a billion. For example, deer have 206 bones and there are about 50 million deer alive today. Of those 10 billion bones, less than 10 individual bones will fossilize. Even then, they still must still be discovered, which is akin to finding a needle in a haystack!

Remember,

the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

There’s even a name for this error: “God of the Gaps,” which is a type of “appeal to ignorance,” and both are logical fallacies. To learn more about evolution, check out Evolution Explained: A Crash Course in Nature’s design. For more on logical fallacies, take the 12-minute deep dive: Logical Fallacies Overview 

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June 16, 2024 Edition
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