A Global Flood… an Evolutionary Theory?

The NY Times recently published a fascinating article in which a new theory within the pale of evolutionary orthodoxy has been proposed to explain the explosion of diversified biological lifeforms during the Cambrian period.  The new theory?  A global flood!  Sorry, folks.  No big boats.  No animals coming on by two-sies, two-sies.  Just lots of water and a more complex version of punctuated equilibrium.  This Cambrian explosion has been a scientific conundrum that has generated lots of head-scratching and hypotheses (a.k.a. speculation) with very little consensus.  One of the scientists quoted in the article puts it this way: ““It became apparent just how many hypotheses there were out there… Thirty-plus over the past 10 years.”  The scientific community is still testing the waters with this new global flood theory, but as another scientist is quoted, “It’ll be a fun next decade.”  One thing that is certainly NOT happening is that the theory’s proponents are being discredited.  However, if a scientist with a certain religious affiliation proposed the theory that the explosion of different lifeforms appearing in the fossil record was caused by a global flood resulting in massive loss of biological life, that scientist would be decried as a religious fanatic and a scientific heretic.  Does this new global flood theory require any less scientific speculation and narratival creativity than the old theory that there was a global flood that caused a massive loss of life, hence the increased diversity in the fossil record over a short period of time?  No.  But what can we imply from this apparent duplicitous character in the scientific search for truth about the origin of life?  We can draw out the implication that the scientific community is very unscientific when vetting its theories.  Scientists, be creative.  Be imaginative in interpreting the data and weaving it into a narrative of historical events.  Just make sure you wipe that filthy religious muck off before you come in to the lab.

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