In The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin acknowledged that the fossil record presented difficulties for his theory.
First of all, Darwin and his contemporaries knew nothing of DNA. It wasn't until the 1950s, after Watson/Crick/Franklin determined the structure of B-DNA that it was finally established that DNA was the carrier of genetic information and how it did that function. He most certainly knew of the various theories of evolution, and was aware that they were missing crucial details which made them inadequate for the purpose of understanding biology.
Now, as far as Darwin's supposed admission that the fossil record presents difficulties for his theory: that is a quote often mined by young-earth creationists (YECs), who, unsurprisingly, leave out the rest of the passage in which he discusses the (then) current understanding of geology and sets forth a hypothesis as to why the fossil record is spotty. I'll put some of the passage here; there is another preceding paragraph that I am omitting, but you can read it at the link:
The case at present must remain inexplicable; and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained. To show that it may hereafter receive some explanation, I will give the following hypothesis. From the nature of the organic remains which do not appear to have inhabited profound depths, in the several formations of Europe and of the United States; and from the amount of sediment, miles in thickness, of which the formations are composed, we may infer that from first to last large islands or tracts of land, whence the sediment was derived, occurred in the neighbourhood of the now existing continents of Europe and North America. The same view has since been maintained by Agassiz and others. But we do not know what was the state of things in the intervals between the several successive formations; whether Europe and the United States during these intervals existed as dry land, or as a submarine surface near land, on which sediment was not deposited, or as the bed on an open and unfathomable sea. - Origin of Species, 6th Ed. John Murray, 1872, Chapter 10, pp. 286-288.
The bolded part is the quote most often cherry-picked by YECs.
I think of the fossil record as analogous to a series of snapshots. We don't have a movie that shows everything, but that doesn't mean that nothing existed in the unrecorded intervals (or that miracles happened in between the snapshots, as YECs claim). I should point out that the claim of some creationists that there were several creation events, and that is why the fossil record resembles snapshots, is also unbiblical. The Bible describes one creation story, in two different versions, neither of which mentions multiple creation events.
I have seen too many cases of academics trying to defend Darwinian evolution by rearranging the fossil record; by misrepresenting the development of vertebrate embryos; by ignoring evidence for the functionality of allegedly vestigial organs and non-coding DNA, then propping up Darwinism with theological arguments about bad design; by attributing some biogeographical patterns to convergence due to the supposedly well-known processes of natural selection and speciation; and then exaggerating the evidence for selection and speciation to make it seem as though they could accomplish what Darwinism requires of them.
Honestly, those do not look like conclusions anyone would reach after reading actual scientific sources. Those have every appearance of being pseudoscientific arguments lifted from some YEC website. I've said it before: you must take extreme caution when getting information from those sites. If the information is not referenced, it's most likely outright fabrication. If it is referenced, it's probably quote-mined (the Darwin quotes being a good example of that), and the original source says something quite different.
I beg to disagree.
Our state of medicine would remain unaffected even if medical scientists did not believe in Darwinian evolution.
In fact, I am not sure if the great discoveries in biology and medicine over the past century depended on guidance from Darwinian evolution.
First of all, it's not "Darwinian" evolution. I am quite aware that YEC websites use all kinds of language to make people think that the idea of evolution was a pure fabrication on Darwin's part. It was not. Darwin was one of only several biologists who were aware of the phenomenon and tried to explain it. Evolution would still proceed if no one had tried to explain it.
As for the belief that modern medicine would still be in its present state without relying on knowledge of the fundamental forces shaping biology: that is just plain wrong. Circumstantially, we can look at history and note that the state of medicine was fairly primitive until the last century or so. The great explosion in medical advances seems to have taken off only after Darwin proposed a workable ToE. And, since I'm a medical researcher and knowing this stuff is essential for my continued employment, I'll point out that understanding evolutionary relationships is fundamental to basic research, and absolutely crucial to many aspects of infectious disease research. None of our current knowledge even makes sense in the context of a one-time sudden creation event. Keep in mind that YEC creationist concepts of "micro-" or "macro-" evolution, or "adaptation" are nothing more than attempts to mash the real concepts of evolution into a YEC framework to make YEC sound scientific; they have no Biblical validity, and there is no passage of the Bible in which those concepts can be found. Taking the actual stories of creation from Genesis, we have no reason to assume any biochemical similarity between organisms that live in different environments (between sea slugs and camels, for example), and no reason to assume that a badger-lemur hybrid is any more or less possible than a horse-donkey hybrid. Thus, it would be impossible to devise any research plan; research on C. elegans (a nematode) would be absolutely pointless, since we'd have no reason to think such research is in any way relevant to human physiology. Yet C. elegans research continues, precisely because it *is* relevant to our physiology.
Im not going to waste my time changing your mind. I can only speak for what I personally see they want and we part ways in our views here.
Hmm, although you mentioned a lot of other things that YECs love to misrepresent, I'm going to have to resist commenting on them (because I could write several pages fully discussing those). But I do have to comment on this.
I am a scientist. I have spent years studying biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, as well as doing hundreds of laboratory experiments. PhDs aren't awarded on the basis of having memorized a ton of facts and learning to recite the party line; they're awarded to students who demonstrate that they understand the fundamental concepts underlying the facts, well enough to research and add new knowledge to the field. I'm fluent in the language of science, while you have the equivalent of a Rosetta Stone course. Of course you won't change my mind.
It is significant, BTW, that very few scientists believe in YEC, and when only scientists who directly work in fields involving evolution (geologists and life scientists) are considered, that number becomes so small as to be statistically insignificant.
This is bluff. Evolutionary stories and mythologies exist to explain what *can’t* be replicated in laboratories and “can’t* be precisely explained because they apparently unfold over millions of years as opposed to human lifespans can’t possibly fuel modern medical science. Modern medical science is absolutely driven by what can be observed to occur in laboratories or in experiments designed where results can be measured in the lifetime of the researcher.
In short, evolutionary yarns which are essential to human understanding and to stave off the beast that is existential angst is a completely different species from research which is result-oriented and driven by the reality of the moment.
Fundamental forces shape biology...sure...but evolution isn’t a force, it’s a construct which we apply to biological diversity and the appearance and disappearance of species. It’s chance and luck driven by the forces of nature...those would be actual fundamental forces.
You suggest the modern medical breakthroughs were only able to occur in light of the general scientific acceptance of modern evolutionary theory. You can’t possibly prove that.
Everybody believes in some form of an evolutionary theory. A young earth creationist can accept biological change and diversity which has been witnessed the last few thousand years without accepting a narrative that lasts hundreds of millions of years.
I’m not going to defend young earth creationism as I don’t accept it. Whether your mythology extends back several thousand years or several billion years, we can all agree that unobservable and unrepeatable things happened in the past. The fossilized entities which are part of your pantheon are connected by the necessary intermediaries who must exist to create the unbroken chain of speciation, the nuts and bolts of which can not be explained (what base pair mutations led to what speciation?). It had to happen that way. Fair enough. And again, what the heck does that have to do with modern medicine?