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Cambrian Explosion

The problem with the so-called "Cambrian explosion" is that many basic different body plans of animals appeared relatively instantaneously - in geologic time - about 600 million years ago. This is exactly the opposite of Darwinism's prediction of gradual development of life forms.

I quote here from "Darwin on Trial", a very well written book by Philip Johnson published in 1991 that has significantly raised people's awareness of the problems of Darwinism.

The single greatest problem which the fossil record poses for Darwinism is the "Cambrian explosion" of around 600 million years ago. Nearly all the animal phyla appear in the rocks of this period, without a trace of the evolutionary ancestors that Darwinists require. As Richard Dawkins [a staunch advocate of Darwinism] puts it, "It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history." In Darwin's time there was no evidence for the existence of pre-Cambrian life, and he conceded in "The Origin of Species" that "The case at present must remain inexplicable, and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained." If his theory was true, Darwin wrote, the pre-Cambrian would must have "swarmed with living creatures."

In recent years evidence of bacteria and algae has been found in some of the earth's oldest rocks, and it is generally accepted today that these single-celled forms of life may have first appeared as long ago as four billion years. ... And then dozens of independent groups of multicellular animals appeared without any visible process of evolutionary development. Darwinist theory requires that there have been very lengthy sets of intermediate forms between unicellular organisms and animals like insects, worms, and clams. The evidence that these existed is missing, however, and with no good excuse.

The problem posed by the Cambrian explosion has become known to many contemporary readers due to the success of Gould's book "Wonderful Life". ...

The general picture of animal history is thus a burst of general body plans followed by extinction. No new phyla evolved thereafter. Many species exist today which are absent from the rocks of the remote past, but these all fit within general taxonomic categories present at the outset. The picture is one of evolution of a sort, but only within the confines of basic categories which themselves show no previous evolutionary history. Gould described the reclassification of the Burgess fossils as the "death knell of the artifact theory." [the theory proposed by Darwin that it is only an accident of the record that the evidence is so bad.] ...

An orthodox Darwinist would answer that a direct leap from unicellular organisms to 25 to 50 complex animal phyla without a long succession of transitional intermediates is not the sort of thing for which a plausible genetic mechanism exists, to put it mildly. Gould is describing something he calls "evolution," but the picture is so different from what Darwin and his successors had in mind that perhaps a different term ought to be found. The Darwinian model of evolution is what Gould calls the "cone of increasing diversity." This means that the story of multicellular animal life should begin with a small number of species evolving from simple forms. The dozens of different basic body plans manifest in the Cambrian fossils would then be the product of a long and gradual process of evolution from less differentiated beginnings. Nor should the cone have stopped expanding abruptly after the Cambrian explosion. If the disconfirming facts were not already known, any Darwinist would be confident that the hundreds of millions of years of post-Cambrian evolution would have produced many new phyla. [But none were produced.]

Instead we see the basic body plans all appearing first, many of these becoming extinct, and further diversification proceeding strictly with the boundaries of the original phyla. These original Cambrian groups have no visible evolutionary history, and the "artifact theory" which should supply such a history has to be discarded. Maybe a few evolutionary intermediates existed for some of the groups, although none have been conclusively identified, but otherwise just about all we have between complex mulicellular animals and single cells is some words like "fast-transition." We can call this thoroughly un-Darwinian scenario "evolution," but we are just attaching a label to a mystery.

Sudden appearance and stasis of species in the fossil record is the opposite of what Darwinian theory would predict. (pp 54-56)

Gould's book "Wonderful Life", mentioned above, studies the Cambrian period from the "Burgess Shale in Canada that gives the best fossil record of the Cambrian period up to that time. In doing just a little research on the Cambrian period on the internet, I came across this information on a yet better and more recent fossil record of that period, the Chengjiang site. This site is "much older than the Burgess Shale and the preservation of the specimens is much much finer."

The following interview is between "Real Issue", a Christian outlet, and Dr. Paul Chien, now a Christian due to his findings and who has changed his career in biology to further study this issue. Dr. Paul Chien was born in China and graduated from university in Hong Kong where he earned degrees in chemistry and botany. He completed his doctorate at the University of California, Irvine, and his post-doc at Cal Tech in marine biology. Presently he is the chairman of the biology department at the University of San Francisco.

Chien recently accepted a unique invitation to travel to China to study the fossils at the Chengjiang site. What Chien found and what he has since learned about the Cambrian fauna, has changed the focus of his career. Today, Chien concentrates on further exploring and promoting the mysteries of the Cambrian explosion of life. Subsequently, Chien possesses the largest collection of Chinese Cambrian fossils in North America.

Real Issue: As you became more interested in this and discovered more about it, did you find it really was an "explosion of life"?

Chien: Yes. A simple way of putting it is that currently we have about 38 phyla of different groups of animals, but the total number of phyla discovered during that period of time (including those in China, Canada, and elsewhere) adds up to over 50 phyla. That means [there are] more phyla in the very, very beginning, where we found the first fossils [of animal life], than exist now.

Stephen J. Gould, [a Harvard University evolutionary biologist], has referred to this as the reverse cone of diversity. The theory of evolution implies that things get more and more complex and get more and more diverse from one single origin. But the whole thing turns out to be reversed. We have more diverse groups in the very beginning, and in fact more and more of them die off over time, and we have less and less now.

RI: What information is the public hearing or not hearing about the Cambrian explosion?

Chien: The general impression people get is that we began with micro-organisms, then came lowly animals that don't amount to much, and then came the birds, mammals and man. Scientists were looking at a very small branch of the whole animal kingdom, and they saw more complexity and advanced features in that group. But it turns out that this concept does not apply to the entire spectrum of animals or to the appearance or creation of different groups. Take all the different body plans of roundworms, flatworms, coral, jellyfish and whatever all those appeared at the very first instant.

Most textbooks will show a live tree of evolution with the groups evolving through a long period of time. If you take that tree and chop off 99 percent of [the earlier portion of] it, [what is left] is closer to reality; it's the true beginning of every group of animals, all represented at the very beginning.

Notice Chien's conclusion "all represented at the very beginning." It is also interesting that Gould calls this a "reverse cone of diversity". The complete opposite of what Darwin proposed.

This article was written by Reed Carson - founder of BlavatskyNet and Theosophy Foundation of Georgia

Stasis in Fossil Record

There are three major problems with the fossil record.

1. The first is that the fossil record shows species originating abruptly. This contradicts the predictions of Darwin's hypothesis. His hypothesis calls for very many intermediate forms gradually grading from one species to another. But instead the record shows the opposite - species arise abruptly.

2. Secondly, the geologic record shows that species do not change significantly through time. For millions of years they remain constant - with only minor and random change. This also contradicts the predictions of the hypothesis of Darwin.

3. The "Cambrian explosion" represents a period in which most of the current phyla [broad groups of life forms] all appeared in a very short geological span of time. This also seriously contradicts the hypothesis of Darwin.

The problems with the fossil record are more extreme than it might seem. The evidence of the fossils is in stunning contradiction to Darwin's theory. Generally this contradiction is not well known and so I have attempted to bring out the details.


In pursuit of this subject, I acquired a copy of "The Structure of Evolutionary Theory" by Steven Jay Gould. It is a 1400 page tome that, while well written, would not appeal to the general reader. I wanted to reach a clearly knowledgeable source and Gould is a well known Darwinist who also admits to some of the problems in Darwin's view. Most of the quotes from Gould are from that book.

Gould has called "stasis" the "trade secret of paleontology." One section of the book attracted my interest. In chapter nine that section is headed "What every Paleontologist knows." I hoped that chapter would reveal and prove the "secret". And it did. Most of the quotes here from Gould are from that source. Now more people can learn the "trade secret of paleontology."

Some reasons according to Gould why there naturally occurs such a "secret."

The common knowledge of a profession often goes unrecorded in technical literature for two reasons: one need not preach commonplaces to the initiated; and one should not attempt to inform the uninitiated in publications they do not read. The long-term stasis, following a geologically abrupt origin, of most fossil morphospecies, has always been recognized by professional paleontologists ... p 749-750

But another reason, beyond tacitly shared knowledge, soon arose to drive stasis more actively into textual silence. Darwinian evolution became the great intellectual novelty of the later 19th century, and paleontology held the archives of life's history. Darwin proclaimed insensibly gradual transition as the canonical expectation for evolution's expression in the fossil record. He knew, of course, that the detailed histories of species rarely show such a pattern, so he explained the literal appearance of stasis and abrupt replacement as an artifact of a woefully imperfect fossil record. Thus, paleontologist could be good Darwinians and still acknowledge the primary fact of their profession - but only at the price of sheepishness or embarrassment. No one can take great comfort when the primary observation of their discipline becomes an artifact of limited evidence rather than an expression of nature's ways. Thus, once gradualism emerged as the expected pattern for documenting evolution - with an evident implication that the fossil record's dominant signal of stasis and abrupt replacement can only be a sign of evidentiary poverty - paleontologist became cowed or puzzled, and even less likely to showcase their primary datum. (p 750)

Gould gives a number of quotes to confirm the fact of stasis of species. He concludes with this:

In what I regard as the most fascinating and revealing comment of all, Gorge Gaylord Simpson, the greatest and most biologically astute paleontologist of the 20th century (and a strong opponent of punctuated equilibrium in his later years), [Gould's own theory] acknowledged the literal appearance of stasis and geologically abrupt origin as *the* outstanding general fact of the fossil record, and as a pattern that would "pose one of the most important theoretical problems in the whole history of life" if Darwin's argument for artifactual status failed. Simpson stated at the 1959 Chicago centennial celebration for the "Origin of Species" (in Tax, 1960, p149):

It is a feature of the known fossil record that most taxa appear abruptly. They are not, as a rule, led up to by a sequence of almost imperceptibly changing forerunners such as Darwin believed should be usual in evolution. A great many sequences of two or a few temporally intergrading species are known, but even at this level most species appear without known intermediate ancestors, and really, perfectly complete sequence of numerous species are exceedingly rare ... These peculiarities of the record pose one of the most important theoretical problems in the whole history of life; is the sudden appearance ... a phenomenon of evolution or of the record only, due to sampling bias and other inadequacies?

Such a discordance between theoretical expectation and actual observation surely falls within the category of troubling "anomalies" that, in Kuhn's celebrated view of scientific change (1962), often spur a major reformulation. p 755

Translation: The data so strongly disconfirm the hypothesis that it may induce a paradigm shift.

Darwin claimed the reason for the discrepancy was an "imperfect" record. Gould claims this reason "works". But while seeming to excuse Darwin he admits the contrariness is "stunning."

The "argument from imperfection" ( with its preposition purposefully chosen by analogy to the "argument from design") works adequately as a device to save gradualism in the face of an empirical signal of quite stunning contrariness when read at face value."  (p 758)

But if an "imperfect" record can excuse the sudden appearance of species, how does one explain the unchanging nature of a species once it appears? This unchanging nature is called "stasis."  After hearing so much "explaining away" Gould makes the point that stasis is data.  Since  those on the spiritual path will have heard of mantras I thought you might enjoy Gould's emphatic explanation.

But how can imperfection possibly explain away stasis (the equilibrium of punctuated equilibrium)? Abrupt appearance may record an absences of information, but *stasis is data*. Eldredge and I became so frustrated by the failure of many colleagues to grasp this evident point - though a quarter century of subsequent debate has finally propelled our claim to general acceptance (while much else about punctuated equilibrium remains controversial) - that we urged the incorporation of this little phrase as a mantra or motto. Say it ten times before breakfast every day for a week, and the argument will surely seep in by osmosis: "stasis is data:; stasis is data ..."

The fossil record may, after all, be 99 percent imperfect, but if you can, nonetheless, sample a species at a large number of horizons well spread over several million years, and if these samples record no net change, with beginning and end points substantially the same, and with only mild and errant fluctuation among the numerous collections in between, then a conclusion of stasis rests on the *presence* of data, not on absence!

Another admission from Gould (I respect his honesty):

So if stasis could not be explained away as missing information, how could gradualism face this most prominent signal from the fossil record? The most negative of all strategies - a quite unconscious conspiracy of silence - dictated the canonical response of paleontologists to their observations of stasis.

Paleontologists therefore came to view stasis as just another failure to document evolution. Stasis existed in overwhelming abundance, as every paleontologist always knew. But this primary signal of the fossil record, defined as an absence of data for evolution, only highlighted our frustration - and certainly did not represent anything worth publishing. Paleontology therefore fell into a literally absurd vicious circle. No one ventured to document or quantify - indeed, hardly anyone even bothered to mention or publish at all - the most common pattern in the fossil record: the stasis of most morphospecies throughout their geological duration.

The trade secret comes out:

All paleontologists recognized the phenomenon, but few scientists write papers about failure to document a desired result. As a consequence, most nonpaleontologists never learned about the predominance of stasis, and simply assumed that gradualism must prevail, as illustrated by the exceedingly few cases that became textbook "classics": the coiling of *Gryphae*, the increasing body size of horses, etc. (Interestingly, nearly all these "classics" have since been disproved, thus providing another testimony for the temporary triumph of hope and expectation over evidence - see Gould, 1972.) Thus, when punctuated equilibrium finally granted theoretical space and importance to stasis, and this fundamental phenomenon finally emerged from the closet, nonpaleontologists were often astounded and incredulous. (p 761)

Gould is probably not thinking exactly what I am thinking when he writes these words:

I find this situation particularly frustrating as paleontology's primary example of an insidious phenomenon in science that simply has not been recognized for the serious and distorting results perpetrated under its aegis.

(In his defense, actually Gould refers to problems that result for science in general when this kind of selection against publishing occurs in any field of study. But in this case, the results for humanity are very serious indeed.) In conclusion, we can infer that instead of a tree of evolution, the actual data reveals a field of poles whereby the phyla has very little relationship to each other, having sprung into existence all at the same time. Theosophy speaks of "Ideation", out of the plane of unmanifested reality, manifested reality emerges.

This article was written by Reed Carson - founder of BlavatskyNet and Theosophy Foundation of Georgia.


Design or Darwin


Helena Blavatsky, in 1888, was the first person to use the phrase "intelligent design" to convey her understanding of evolution. She used the phrase to convey the idea that the evolution of the species was guided by an underlying purposeful intelligence in nature. This intelligence is different from the "God" of theistic religions. Orthodox science opposes the whole notion of any intelligence design and insists on chance without any guiding direction. This makes her view a distinct alternative to both religion and science.

However, it was not just a view - it was based on knowledge.  This intelligence in nature can be sensed and known through the mind by advanced seers. A body of seers have checked, tested, and mutually verified their observations on this matter over very long periods of time before accepting them as valid. In this way their observations have become knowledge.

One important conclusion of the seers is that Darwinism does explain some facts of evolution.

However, those facts are only minor details. Science does observe and record examples of those minor details of evolution. This confirms the views of the seers.

 The seers are also aware that the origin of the species - as opposed to the origin of subspecies - is determined by purposeful intelligence engaged in design. New science of the last few decades shows that this view is consistent with the facts of nature. Modern science also shows that the facts of nature very strongly contradict the predictions of Darwinism when it attempts to explain the origin of the species. So the science of the last few decades again supports the views of the seers on the origin of the species.

Blavatsky brought this knowledge of the seers to the West in 1875 and recorded it pre-eminently in her book, The Secret Doctrine, published in 1888.  She called this body of knowledge "Theosophy".

The material below outlines these conclusions and assertions and gives more detail.




  The real issue: Macro-evolution vs Micro-evolutionSurvival of the fittest is agreed. But it is Arrival of the fittest that is the issue. Species don't change over time like Darwin hypothesized.  A grove of poles replaces the tree of life. Contrary to Darwinism the Cambrian Explosion generated all major life forms in a brief geological moment.  Pre-biotic soup models have all failed - contrary to original hopes. Darwinism is partly right - but only in minor ways    

It is seldom remembered that, in the years following publication of "The Origin of Species", HPB [Helena Blavatsky] was the first person to aggressively argue the case for a transphysical element in evolution against the rising Darwinian consensus.

Yet, buried in the sprawling bulk of her two major works (Isis Unveiled, 1877, and The Secret Doctrine, 1888) there lies, in rudimentary form, the first philosophy of psychic and spiritual evolution to appear in the modern West. Her effort, unlike that of the Christian fundamentalists, was not to reject Darwin's work, but to insist that it had, by its focus on the purely physical, wholly omitted the mental, creative, and visionary life of the human race, in short, it omitted consciousness, whose development followed a very different evolutionary path. Darwin simply did not go far enough; his was not a big enough theory to contain human nature in the round. As HPB put it: "Darwin's starting point is placed in front of an open door. We are at liberty with him to either remain within, or cross the threshold, beyond which lies the limitless and the incomprehensible." ("Unfinished Animal", by Theodore Roszak, Harper & Row Publishers, ©1975. Ch. 6. pg. 118.)


Design -What the sages know


Source of knowledge

Objectives of The Secret Doctrine - In the preface to The Secret Doctrine, Helena Blavatsky states the aims of her book. Oddly enough, the attempt to explain the view of the ancient wisdom upon the Darwinist/ID issue happens to invoke each of her aims.

"The aim of this work may be thus stated: to show that Nature is not a fortuitous occurrece of atoms,"

How appropriate. What we are about is to explore the answer to the momentous question, are the life forms about us the result of "a fortuitous concurrence of atoms." (Was the materialism of Darwinism prominently in her sights as she wrote her magnum opus?) She continues:

"and to assign to man his rightful place in the scheme of the Universe;..."

Certainly it should be our personal objective to determine this and the issue Darwinism which leads in this directio.

"to rescue from degradation the archaic truths which are the basis of all religions; and to uncover, to some extent, the fundamental unity from which they all spring;"

Surprisingly, this question follows naturally in the exposition.

"finally, to show that the occult side of Nature has never been approached by the Science of modern civilization."

And that is a strong conclusion to this section of Blavatsky Net. She adds:

If this is in any degree accomplished, the writer is content. It is written in the service of humanity, and by humanity and the future generations it must be judge. Its author recognizes no inferior court of appeal. (preface SD)

In part we are that future generation and in part we are that court of appeal. So lets see how the case looks today.


The Cosmic Ultimate  -as per Theosophy points to a concept that lies far beyond the anthropomorphical concept of God, that is prevelant throughout religions today. But rather to an omnipresent, eternal, boundless and immutable Principle, the ground of all being.


Intelligence in nature -Theosophy states  we are not a spontaneous creation from random firings of neurons in some ape brain, but rather we emerge out of an invisible energy field that informs all with its particular blue print and continues to inform 24/7. Many call it the Source Field

  • Hierarchies of Intelligence -"This hierarchy of spiritual Beings, through which the Universal Mind comes into action, is like an army - a "Host," truly - by means of which the fighting power of a nation manirests itself, ...(SD vol 1 p 38)
  • Imperfections in Design - Although there are spiritual Beings (think units of directed living energy) these are neither omnipotent nor omniscent, they are simply builders. Nature exhibits many imperfections in her zeal to bring forth the fruit of her abilities.
  • Design in the astral - Physics admits to unseen fields that have consequence in this reality (or field). Theosophy identifies such a field and calls it the astral plane, or the field of Ideation.

Triple evolution - Man is made up of an evolving trinity to his constitution; spiritual, mental and physical.


No worship

Should we worship the Designer? Again, the ancient wisdom differs from standard religion. The ancient wisdom does not suggest houses of worship which one visits to worship. However, appreciation of nature, perhaps in some ways like th well-known views of Einstein, is natural.

"This results in a perpetual series of physical manifestations and moral effects on Earth, during manvantaric periods, the whole being subservient to Karma. As that process is not always perfect; and since, however many proofs it may exhibit of a guiding intelligence behind the veil, it still shows gaps and flaws, and even results very often in evident failurs - therefore, neither the collective Host (Demiurgos), or nor any of the working powers individually, are proper subjects for divine honours or worship. All are entitled to the grateful reverence of Humanity, however, and man ought to be ever striving to help the divine evolution of Ideas, by becoming to the best of his ability a co-worker with nature in the cyclic task. The ever unknowable and incognizable Karana alone, the Causeless Cause of all causes, should have its shrine and alter on the holy and ever untrodden ground of our heart-invisible, intangible, unmentioned, save through "the still small voice" of our spiritual consciousness."

The final words in this quote have been separated out in hopes they receive more notice:

"Those who worship before it, ought to do so in the silence and the sanctified solitude of their Souls; making their spirit the sole mediator between them and the Universal Spirit, their good actions the only priests, and their sinul intentions the only visible and objective sacrificial victims to the Presence."

--H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol 1, p. 280


Failure of Darwinism confirms Theosophy


"The whole order of nature evinces a progressive march towards a higher life. There is design in the action of the seemingly blindest forces. The whole process of evolution with its endless adaptations is a proof of this. The immutable laws that weed out the weak and feeble species, to make room for the strong, and which ensure the "survival of the fittest," though so cruel in their immediate action - all are working toward the grand end. -H. P. Blavatsky,The Secret Doctrine  Vol I p. 277


H. P. Blavatsky wrote extensively on Darwin's Theory of Evolution. In fact, she states that she published the Secret Doctrine as a reply to the concept of darwinian evolution, which she felt not only gave an erroneous explanation of how life began, but also introduced a dogma bordering on religion. For her the theory was as materialistic as it was a path that led Humanity to a dead-end. We have assembled some of her statements in HP Blavatsky on Darwinism. In fact, in the later years of Darwin's life, he began to confess his own misgivings about his theory, and why it could, in time, be shown to be in error - Darwin's Confessions.



Intelligent Design


Blavatsky was the first to use the phrase "intelligent design" in a book. 


Peer-reviewed publications by scientists in intelligent design field.


Issue on Intelligent Design by Theosophy Magazine. Winter 04-05.


Recommended further reading. Books on the issues surrounding Intelligent Design and Darwinism.


Additional sources where one can find further information.


Discovery Institute - the pre-eminent site on Intelligent Design.

As per their mission statement - "The mission of Discovery Institue is to advance a culture of purpose, creativity and innovation.

Philosophy - "Mind, not matter, is the source and crown of creation, the wellspring of human achievement....In contrast, the contemporary materialistic worldview denies the intrinsic dignity and freedom of human beings and enfeebles scientific creativity and technological innovation. Its vision of a closing circle of human possibilities on a planet of limited horizons summons instead te deadening ideologies of scarcity, conflict, mutual suspicion and despair.  


Idea Center -  The Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness IDEA) center is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting intelligent design theory and fostering good - spirited discussion and a better understanding over intelligent design theory and the creation - evolution issue among students, educators, churches, and anyone else interested.   


Talk Origins - A Usenet newsgroup devoted to the discussion and debate of biological and physical origins. Most discussions in the newsgroup center on the creation/evolution controversy, but other topics of discussion include the origin of lie, geology, biology, catastrophism, cosmology and theology.




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Micro-evolution vs. Macro-evolution


In following the Darwinism/ID debate one will quickly hear from the Darwinist side that Darwinism has been well proven. From the other side one will hear there is no proof whatsoever that Darwinism explains the origin of the species. As contradictory as these statements seem, there is actually an explanation that reveals a truth to both.

The reconciliation comes from noting the difference between micro-evolution and macro-evolution. Micro-evolution studies how sub-species and variations arise. For example, the lengths of beaks of a certain bird have been show to change due to climatic changes. The percent of moths with certain colorations has seemingly changed in response to the changing needs of local camouflage. Micro-evolution has been shown to be correct in some instances. There are not as many such proofs as we might infer from the apologists for Darwinism and in some cases issues remain, but as a whole a reasonable person should certainly grant the principles of Darwinism have, in some cases, explained micro-evolution.

Macro-evolution refers to the origin of the species (not sub-species). This is what is at controversy.

The Darwinist making the above claims fails to mention something. He fails to mention that macro-evolution has not been proven. He may well shut his own eyes and believe that if micro-evolution has been proven then macro-evolution also has been proven. But it just isn't so.

For example: "Large evolutionary innovations are not well understood. None has ever been observed, and we have no idea whether any may be in progress. There is no good fossil record of any." (Wesson R. Beyond Natural Selection. Cambridge (USA): MIT Press, 1991)

Theosophy definitely grants to Darwinism the power to explain some micro-evolution. But after that concession, it describes Darwinism as only a "minor" law. If you read on and appreciate the scope of occultism's view, you will see that Darwinism is described correctly as indeed only a minor law.

Blavatsky's summary view of Darwinism:

The fact is, that only the partial truth of many of the  secondary "laws" of Darwinism is beyond question" (SDii662)

Since Darwinism has been shown to be inadequate after a century and a half to explain macro-evolution, her assertions of 1888 have been vindicated.

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