Friday, July 22, 2011

Evolution's "Tree of Life" doesn't work for Trees!

Tom Hennigan and Jerry Bergman explain how the story of trees evolving from single-cell ancestors is not supported by the fossil evidence. In fact, ancient tree fossils and even their seeds are nearly identical to modern trees. Many polystrate tree fossils have been found that span across up to twelve different rock layers, how could that be if the rock layers were millions of years apart? The best theory that explains the origin of trees is what God himself tells us in the Bible, that He created trees on Day 3 of the creation week!

Selections from The Origin of Trees, by Tom Hennigan and Jerry Bergman

(These selections by Marko Malyj are of the article published in Creation Research Society Quarterly Journal, Volume 47, Number 4, Spring 2011)

The Genesis account suggests that trees are discontinuous from other vegetational growth forms and did not originate from simpler precursors. Trees were created on Day 3 according to their kinds, or baramin (Gen. 1:11–12; 1:29; 2:9; 2:16), and Genesis chapters 6–9 revealed a historic worldwide Flood that helps explain the world’s massive graveyards. It is upon this foundation that creationists can develop scientific models of the origin of trees and fossil strata.

Problems with Naturalistic Explanations for Tree Evolution

Cretaceous Pinecones
are just like modern ones.
One classic text on tree evolution included illustrations of a large number of ancient trees are nearly identical to fully modern trees, and none indicate evidence for tree evolution (Berry, 1923). Even the seeds of ancient trees are virtually indistinguishable from their modern counterparts. Professor Berry wrote that his large collection of pinecones from the Lower Cretaceous are morphologically “almost exactly like those of the existing redwood [trees that are]… found in abundance in the coulees of the present arid badlands of Western Dakota” (Berry, 1923, p. 41).

The Wollemi Pine, a so-called
"living fossil," does not support
evolutionary fossil predictions.
 Another example, the Wollemi pine, was thought to have gone extinct with the dinosaurs until it was discovered several years ago in Australia (Bardell, 2006; Wieland, 2003, pp 8–9). The Wollemi pine was long thought to be extinct for 200 million years. Scientists concluded that it is marvelous it is marvelous that the Wollemi pine has survived unchanged for 200 million years, but in fact it is only one of thousands of so-called living fossils known today.

Do you prefer the Traditional or Modern
"Tree of Life"
for Trees?
For the above reasons, the “evolution of trees can only be diagrammatically represented in the most tentative way” (Johnson, 1971, pp. 24–25). Although taxonomy and phylogeny have both progressed since Darwin’s day, continuity of trees arising from single-cell precursors through evolutionary processes has not been supported by the fossil evidence (e.g., Johnson, 1973, p. 24).

Tree Origins and the Fossil Record

Instead of interpreting the rock strata as moving through billions of years of time, creationists interpret them an effect of a global Flood (Genesis 6–9). If a great Flood occurred, then billions of fossils would have been produced and evidence of vast continental sedimentation and upheaval would be common (Snelling, 2008).

Rather than being interpreted as an early primitive tree, lycopod anatomy is better understood as an arboreal plant designed to thrive in an aquatic ecosystem. Scheven further hypothesized that at the outset of the Flood, this large biome was torn apart and left to drift. As the Flood receded, these massive mats were buried under large amounts of sediment, producing much of the Carboniferous strata observed today. The burial of these massive log mats was also consistent with a creationist explanation for coal formation on a global scale(Austin, 1979).

A Polystrate fossil tree.
Polystrate tree and animal fossils have been found erect and at various angles with fossils varying 6–9 meters long and intersecting two to twelve different strata (Rupke, 1966). These trees are commonly just as well preserved at the bottom as they are at the top and their internal microscopic structure is often well preserved, indicating that they were buried quickly and sealed off from decay organisms. Two of the many global example locations are the Joggins formation in Nova Scotia and Gingko Petrified Forest State Park in Washington.

In general, creationists predict that all major tree families were present in their respective environments since the beginning and that evidence such as the polystrate trees found in Washington will continue to be found.

Complex Biochemical Systems

Many evolutionists have been forced to conclude that trees have evolved several times from many ancestors through convergent evolution (Ennos, 2001, p.5).

Cell Chloroplasts are beyond human
ingenuity, they require an intelligent
Consider the photosynthetic system in the chloroplasts that trees depend on daily (Figure 11). This system breaks up water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen (Sarfati, 2008, p. 125).This irreducibly complex photosynthesis process will not function unless the entire system is in place. Such a system could not be produced in stages by neo-Darwinian processes once, let alone several times through the many common ancestors of the variety of plants existing today.


The first trees existing in the fossil record were clearly trees. Furthermore, an enormous gap exists between trees and all other plant forms. When the fossil record is critically examined, the origin of trees is consistent with the Biblical record. Building our scientific understanding helps us to better understand our world and the one who created it.

(To receive new uMarko posts via a daily email, please click Subscribe)
(On Twitter: FOLLOW uMarko or

References (selected)

Austin, S.A. 1979. Depositional environment of the Kentucky no. 12 coal bed (middle Pennsylvanian) of western Kentucky, with special reference to the origin of coal lithophytes. Ph.D. Diss., Pennsylvania State University, Pittsburgh, PA.

Bardell, D. 2006. The biologists forum: the discovery of a tree (Wollemia nobilis) from the age of the dinosaurs. BioOne 77:20–23.

Berry, E. W. 1923. Tree Ancestors. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, MD.

Ennos, R. 2001. Trees. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC.

Johnson, H. 1973. The International Book of Trees. Simon and Schuster, New York, NY.

Rupke, N.A. 1966. Prolegomena to a study of cataclysmal sedimentation. CRSQ 3:21–25.

Sarfati, J. 2008. By Design: Evidence for Nature’s Designer—The God of the Bible. Creation Book Publishers, Powder Springs, GA.

Snelling, A. 2008. The world’s a graveyard. (accessed July 14, 2010).

Wieland, Carl. 2005. Dino tree planted in London. Creation 27:8–9.

Williams, A. 2004. Bristlecone pine growth rings. TJ 18:60–61.

No comments:

Post a Comment