And it is spotty. Discontinuous is a better word.
What you're missing is that it's discontinuous IN A WAY CONSISTENT WITH EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY. It is NOT discontinous in a way consistent with creationism. Yet again, this *support* evolutionary biology and falsifies a non-evolutionary creationism. Furthermore, periodically nwe fossils are found which help fill in some of the discontinuities, and these consistently MATCH THE PREDICTIONS OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY. This again is stunning confirmation that evolutionary biology is correct, and creationism is wrong (see my earlier posts about the many and varied fossils which have been found fulfilling predictions of evolutionary biology, and *refuting* the confident statements of creationists about how such "missing links" would forever remain "missing" because evolution was off on the wrong track.)
And there lies the problem.
It's only a problem for creationism.
The fossil record has gaps for what ever reason.
It has gaps for the reasons stated by science, as confirmed by the fact that the gaps are of the type and nature one would expect if the scientific explanation was correct, AND confirmed by the fact that when new fossils aer fond, they help fill in the gaps in ways that science predicts they will.
Since the The Darwinians will give their rational for why it is so.
...and new findings keep confirming that the "Darwinian rationale" is the correct one. This is a classic case of theory making predictions, and the predictions being subsequently validated, which confirms the theory.
The creationists and punk eeks will give theirs.
...and new findings keep *falsifying* the creationist rationale.
And the controversy will continue.
...only among people who don't actually examine the evidence, or willfully choose to ignore it.
Each side committed to their favorite theory.
Biologists because they follow the evidence where it leads, and creationists because they ignore the evidence and believe what they want to believe. Also, creationism does not actually rise to the level of a "theory", don't pretend that it does.
Interpreting self selected facts and quasi facts to support their side. And telling 'just so narratives' along the way.
You're describing the creationists, not the scientists. The scientists develop theories which best fit *all* the actual evidence -- using "self selected facts" is not an option in science. It is, however, de riguer in creationism.
Finally, by focussing obsessively on the *gaps*, you appear to be intentionally trying to draw attention away from the way in which the "nongaps" (the actual evidence which *has* been acquired) overwhelmingly draws an unmistakable pattern of evolutionary development and interrelatedness.
There will always be gaps, in ALL collections of human knowledge. The wise man learns the lesson told by the information we *do* have -- and in the case of evolutionary biology, it is a MASSIVE amount of information -- rather than fixate on the "holes" and mumble about, "well, what might be in the holes *could* be argued either way"... Fine, but what about the vast sections of the picture where we *do* have the pieces already? These point overwhelmingly to evolution.
Here's a post of mine from last year that deals with the same fallacious "focus on the gaps, not on the data that has been acquired" hand-waving:
There are billions and billions of gaps.
Not that I've noticed. Perhaps you could support your claim by naming, say, twenty million or so of them. We'll wait.
But I see what you're driving at. You're saying that it would be premature for anyone to see any sort of pattern at all in the following, due to all those "gaps", so it must be just a meaningless scattering of dots, and no rational person would conclude that the dots indicate anything, or that closely spaced dots appearing to form a lines are anything more than a wild coincidence, since those pesky "gaps" preclude any sort of sensible connection whatsoever:
You're saying that until every single gap is filled, you can't possibly draw any conclusions from the relative positioning of the available data samplings, even when they seem to form clear patterns of connections, and fall into recognizable, meaningful results:
You're saying that it's impossible for the distribution and pattern of data points to suggest an underlying form, because the "gaps" between the data points could possibly make the final picture turn out to be something entirely different, if eventually filled in, and that the indications of the current data points mean nothing, and may just give the chance *appearance* of pattern, which anyone can mentally form into any shape through mental bias:
You're saying that while some of the pieces of the puzzle are still missing, it would be foolish, presumptuous, or impossible to make informed assumptions about what the "big picture" indicates, and what the missing pieces might look like:
I understand your point -- it's a common one among creationists/anti-evolutionists. I just think it's naive and goofy, that's all.
"The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, must be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic change; and this, perhaps is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be used against my theory." Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, 1859.
The gaps go to the heart of Darwinian orthodoxy. Darwin posited a continuum of micro changes over vast time spans. A continuous system not a discontinuous system.
If it can be demonstrated scientifically that the evolution of life is in fact discontinuous and not continuous, then Darwin is falsified.
Science has already falsified Creationism of the Morris-Gish variety. However Punctuated Equilibrium (PE) and Intelligent Design (ID), are still in play.
PE has the advantage in that it doesn't require an intelligent agent but has a problem with the mechanism of change. Very quick jumps between species are required. Jumping genes anyone?
ID has the same advantage that PE has (no problem with the fossil record) but posits an intelligent agent as the mechanism for change. It has the disadvantage in that the intelligent agent may be beyond the capabilities of science to identify.