Mystery of Flowering Plants Solved?

on July 18, 2009

ScienceDaily: “Darwin’s Mystery of Appearance of Flowering Plants Explained” Evolutionists take another stab at answering what Charles Darwin called an “abominable mystery”: the abrupt appearance and ubiquity of flowering plants in the fossil record and on earth.

It’s a question evolutionists have addressed before, as we covered in the December 1, 2007, and May 23, 2009, editions of News to Note. Some 100 million years ago (on the old-earth timeline), flowering plants appeared in the fossil record. Next thing the old-ager knows, they’re everywhere. How did it happen?

“Flowering plants changed the conditions [of the earth at the time] to suit themselves.”

Frank Berendse and Marten Scheffer think they have the answer: that, in the words of a news release, “flowering plants changed the conditions [of the earth at the time] to suit themselves.” The two Wageningen University ecologists suggest that as flowering plants appeared and grew rapidly—requiring more nutrients—they started a positive feedback loop with the soil. “[A]t some locations where the gymnosperms had temporarily disappeared,” the news release notes, “the angiosperms could increase so that they were capable of improving their own conditions with their easily degradable litter.”

In this case, we actually find the evolutionary explanation intriguing. Furthermore, the research paper ties the speculation in with observational science, such as rapid ecological change in western Europe’s heathlands in the past three decades. Even when evolutionists have a plausible explanation for an evolutionary “mystery,” however, it does not call into question the plausibility of creation (though the popular caricature implies otherwise). And Berendse and Scheffer conclude their paper by noting that “hard proofs of what caused a particular pattern in the far past will remain illusive [sic]”—reminding us of the difficulties of using scientific techniques to come to conclusions about the untestable past. Furthermore, the fundamental question of how flowering plants arose in the first place remains unanswered.

We’ve written before that the young-earth creation model doesn’t rise or fall on the strength or weakness of the old-earth evolution model (unless one has an a priori preference for naturalistic explanations). Tearing apart evolutionary explanations has a place, but so does recognizing the explanatory success of each model, considering how well the models stack up against observational science, and contemplating the metaphysical bases—and implications—of each model.

Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! (Note: if the story originates from the Associated Press, Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times, or another major national media outlet, we will most likely have already heard about it.) And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us.

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