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Creation 40(1):48–49, January 2018

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Sulfur bacteria stasis—“The greatest absence of evolution ever reported”

Across a supposed evolutionary history of over two billion years, seabed sulfur bacteria haven’t changed



In a pronouncement that makes the Orwellian black-is-white ‘doublethinking’ Newspeak of the ‘Ministry of Truth’1 seem tame by comparison, evidence of a lack of evolution is proclaimed as evidence for evolution! Here’s the exact wording from one science news outlet:

“An international team of scientists has discovered the greatest absence of evolution ever reported—a type of deep-sea microorganism that appears not to have evolved over more than 2 billion years. But the researchers say that the organisms’ lack of evolution actually supports Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.”2

The team of researchers were led by J. William Schopf, director of the UCLA3 Center for the study of Evolution and the Origin of Life—so it’s hardly surprising that their origins framework would be evolution, by default.

Their scientific paper records that the Western Australian fossils of sulfur bacteria they observed are “indistinguishable” from modern sulfur bacteria found living off the coast of South America in 2007.4 If the researchers had left it at that, no problem. But they get themselves into difficulty by adopting an evolutionary timeline. Namely, they apply a ‘date’ of 1.8 billion years to their fossils (and 2.3 billion years to identical-looking sulfur bacteria fossils found earlier in the same region).5 Hence they are confronted with the challenge of why the sulfur bacteria “have exhibited an exceedingly long-term lack of discernable change”—i.e. “extreme evolutionary stasis”.4,6

As Professor Schopf, mired in his evolutionary presuppositions, observed:

“It seems astounding that life has not evolved for more than 2 billion years—over half the history of the Earth. Given that evolution is a fact, this lack of evolution needs to be explained.”2

Evolution is not a fact,7 but Schopf is right about stasis being a problem for evolutionists.8 In their paper, Schopf and his colleagues attempt to address the problem. Note, however, that the key assumption underlying their proffered ‘explanation’ of the absence of evolution over more than two billion years is that the environment in which the sulfur bacteria live hasn’t changed during that time:

“If there is no change in the physical-biological environment of a well-adapted ecosystem, there should be no speciation, no evolution of the form, function, or metabolic requirements of its biotic components.”4

In other words,

“The rule of biology is not to evolve unless the physical or biological environment changes, which is consistent with Darwin. These microorganisms are well-adapted to their simple, very stable environment. If they were in an environment that did not change but they nevertheless evolved, that would have shown that our understanding of Darwinian evolution was seriously flawed.”2

But even then, history shows that no matter what evolutionary ‘doctrines’ are overturned, the ‘big picture’ of evolution itself (that particles have somehow turned into people—and everything else—is never doubted.9 It’s like the proverbially unlosable coin-toss: Heads—evolution is true; tails—creation is false.10 Thus the record-breaking evolutionary stasis of sulfur bacteria is presented as being “confirmation of Darwin’s theory”4 and that “it fits perfectly with his ideas.”2 In short, no evolution = evolution. The ‘doublespeak’ of the news and education controllers in George Orwell’s fictional Nineteen Eighty-Four seems awfully real here.1

However, the proposition that the environment has not changed goes against evolutionary notions of earth’s history including periods of ‘snowball earth’, which supposedly occurred in the timeframe claimed for these bacteria.11

And there’s another parallel with that Orwellian dystopian novel, too. Its ‘Ministry of Truth’— modelled on Stalinist Russia—had responsibility for the falsification of historical events, as the government deemed necessary. Similarly, those who support evolutionary theory are actually promoting the falsification of the historical events of Genesis creation (about 6,000 years ago) and the global Flood of Noah (about 4,500 years ago).

They deny the Flood, and then co-opt its worldwide legacy of mountains of fossil-bearing strata as instead being evidence of deposition over billions of years. And by denying creation, in their minds there’s no Creator to whom one must account for ‘bearing false witness’ about history. So perhaps it’s not surprising that they propose what would otherwise seem totally unreasonable. Namely, the ‘just-so’ story that the muddy environment of these sulfur bacteria—remember ‘environment’ also includes the presence and action of myriad other organisms that have supposedly evolved in the same timeframe—hasn’t changed in nigh on three billion years.

References and notes

  1. From George Orwell’s famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (written in 1948)—an insightful portrayal of the oppression of a nation’s citizenry under a power-for-its-own-sake socialist regime. This government’s ‘Ministry of Truth’ had tight control of news, education, entertainment, and the fine arts. It constantly propagated the broader governmental slogans of “War is Peace”, “Freedom is Slavery”, and “Ignorance is Strength”. Return to text.
  2. Wolpert, S., Scientists discover organism that hasn’t evolved in more than 2 billion years, phys.org, 3 February 2015. Return to text.
  3. University of California—Los Angeles. Return to text.
  4. Schopf, J.W., and 9 others, Sulfur-cycling fossil bacteria from the 1.8-Ga Duck Creek Formation provide promising evidence of evolution’s null hypothesis, PNAS 112(7):2087–2092, 2015 | doi: 10.1073/pnas.1419241112. Return to text.
  5. Van Kranendonk, M., Schopf, J., Grice, K., and 7 others, A 2.3 Ga sulfuretum at the GOE: Microfossils and organic geochemistry evidence from the Turee Creek Group, Western Australia, Proceedings of the 34th International Geological Congress 2012, Brisbane, Australia, Abstract P3M-259, p. 2422. Return to text.
  6. Cf. Bell, P., Evolutionary stasis: double-speak and propaganda, Creation 28(2):38–40, 2006; creation.com/stasis. Return to text.
  7. Catchpoole, D., Created or evolved?, creation.com/coe , 25 June 2013. Return to text.
  8. Batten, D., Evolutionists can’t dodge ‘Living Fossils’, Creation 33(4):42–43, 2011;creation.com/dodge. Return to text.
  9. .E.g. see: Grass-eating dinos: a ‘time-travel’ problem for evolution, Creation 29(2):22–23, 2007;creation.com/dino-grass. Return to text.
  10. Statham, D., Heads I win, tails you lose—the power of the paradigm,creation.com/evo-coin-toss , 11 November 2010. Return to text.
  11. Oard, M., ‘Snowball Earth’—a problem for the supposed origin of multicellular animals, J. Creation 16(1):6-9, 2002, creation.com/snowball. Return to text.

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