Evolutionary ideas predict thousands of transitional forms in the fossil record but a century and a half of searching has yielded only a handful of highly disputed finds.
I saw an email once from a creationist whose evolutionist friend had sent her a link to a page on Wikipedia that “proved” evolution. This young lady was concerned and wanted to know what to do about it. This Wikipedia page contained a list of all the supposed transitional forms that have allegedly been found in the fossil record. The list is quite lengthy so, understandably, this young lady wanted to know how creationists address this issue.
A quick look at the Wikipedia page showed that most of these so-called “missing links” highlight the two different kinds of science. The first kind of science, observational science, deals with the present and is directly testable, observable, and repeatable. This is the kind of science that put the rover on Mars, developed cell phones, and makes medical innovations. Historical science, on the other hand, is not directly testable, observable, or repeatable. These fossils fall into this category. After all, you can’t directly test, observe, or repeat what happened to this creature in the past when you weren’t there! Since you can’t objectively test historical science with the scientific method, what you believe about the past makes a big difference in how you interpret the evidence. If you start with man’s ideas about the past you will come to an entirely different conclusion when you look at the fossil record than if you start with the history in God’s Word. Each person interprets the evidence in light of their starting assumptions.
In the case of this lengthly list of supposed “missing links,” it boils down to a difference in presuppositions. None of the organisms on the list are on there because they are, for example, half reptile and half bird. All of the creatures on the list are fully formed and functioning creatures. Some are labelled “primitive” but this is a term loaded with evolutionary ideas. The “primitive” creatures on the list are no less well-developed than supposedly simply creatures today, like worms or sponges. They are designed to do their job and they do it well. Some creatures simply do not need as many design features as others but that does not make them primitive by any means. I am sure engineers would be thrilled if they could make an earth-mover as efficient as the humble earthworm!
So if the creatures on the list are not there because they are primitive or half-and-half, why are they there? They are there simply because of an evolutionary interpretation. You see, according to evolution, every phyla, every species, must have an ancestor that lived at some point. So, when an evolutionist interprets the fossil record, they interpret it in light of that presupposition. They also have the starting assumption that bottom rock layers are significantly older than top rock layers. Therefore, the bottom layers should preserve the memory of the ancestors of more complex forms farther up in the fossil record. So when an evolutionist finds a creature, usually of an extinct taxa, in an “older” rock layer, they assume that it must be the ancestor of similar taxa farther up in the fossil record. The evidence certainly does not demand that this creature be the ancestor of another similar creature. Rather, it is an interpretation of the evidence that is based on evolutionary assumptions.
Creationists look at the same evidence and come to a completely different conclusion because we start with the history recorded in God’s Word. Starting with Scripture, we know that every creature was created fully formed and functioning and that most creatures were buried in the global Flood of Noah’s day about 4,350 years ago. The creatures preserved in the fossil record are not primitive ancestors of later life forms. They are creatures that were wonderfully designed by an all-wise Creator. The fossil record merely shows the incredible variety of organisms that lived before the Flood.