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First Creature on Earth Significantly More Complex

on April 12, 2008

PhysOrg: “And the First Animal on Earth Was a . . .” Might a new scientific find be so “shocking” to scientists because it goes against the predictions of evolutionary history?

The first sentence of the press release says it all (well, almost, anyway): “A new study mapping the evolutionary history of animals indicates that Earth's first animal . . . was probably significantly more complex than previously believed.”

It wasn’t the humble, “simple” sponge that diverged first, but rather the much more complex comb jelly.

The National Science Foundation study (which happened to be the cover article for this week’s issue of the journal Nature) set out to analyze genetic data in order to ascertain the oldest animal lineage on the planet—the first branch on the supposed evolutionary tree of (animal) life. The surprise? It wasn’t the humble, “simple” sponge that diverged first, but rather the much more complex comb jelly.

Researcher Casey Dunn calls the find “a complete shocker[—s]o shocking that we initially thought something had gone very wrong.” Yet after the results were checked and rechecked, the data confirmed that the comb jelly split off first.

This is such a shock to evolutionists because the jellyfish-like Comb Jelly have tissues and a nervous system, complex characteristics that were thought to have evolved later. Sponges, by contrast, lack tissues and nervous systems. Interestingly, this has led to the idea that Comb Jellies evolved their complexity separately from other animal life. The only other possibility, according to the evolutionary model, is that the sponge somehow lost complex features—including a nervous system and tissues—that it once had.

For Bible-believing creationists, the very premise of this study is flawed. Evolutionists, taking it on faith that we all share a common ancestor, believe we can simply compare differences in animal genomes, with larger differences representing a more distant common ancestor and small differences representing a more recent common ancestor.

A somewhat loose analogy might be: suppose someone took it on faith that all computer circuit boards were simply modifications of modifications of modifications (and so on) of the original circuit board—that factory mistakes here or there had resulted in the diversity of computer circuit boards we use today (assuming, of course, at least some of these mistakes weren’t detrimental to the boards). Now, suppose this person, after devising a complicated way to standardize and measure the exact difference between any two working circuit boards, determined that what looks like a modern, high-tech circuit board was actually older and more original than a comparably low-tech, simplistic circuit board. He would at that point have only three options:

  1. “This doesn’t make any sense; my system for measuring and comparing differences—and concluding which board is the oldest—must be flawed in some way.”
  2. “This completely disputes the idea of descent with increasingly higher-tech modification for circuit boards (since we now have many more high-tech boards); maybe something else was responsible for the origin of all these circuit boards.”
  3. “I know that these circuit boards all descended from one original board design, and that means my system of measuring differences must be correct. So I’m just going to have to come up with some explanation for why such an unexpected result occurred.”

In the last option, our hypothetical believer in circuit board descent would employ a “rescuing device”: a “just-so” story that is held by faith but that allows him to hang on to his contradicting beliefs.

Biblical creationists accept something by faith ... then we interpret facts through the biblical worldview (or paradigm).

Likewise, the just-so stories required to hang on to belief in evolution—even when data contradicts it—betray the reality that evolution is accepted by faith first, and then the facts are shoehorned into the evolutionary paradigm. Biblical creationists accept something by faith, too: the existence of God and His Revelation (the Bible) to us; then we interpret facts through the biblical worldview (or paradigm).

So whenever someone tells you it requires (pejoratively) “faith” to accept the Bible’s account of origins, tell them they’re absolutely right. But then tell them that it takes great “faith” to accept any account of origins, and ask them if they would rather put their faith in man’s fallible ideas or in the Word of One who was there.

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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