Resolving the Mystery of the Cambrian Explosion

By: Ranilo Abando (Manila, October 4, 2020) ***

I have a deep but very interesting topic today for you fellows.  This is regarding the hot controversy and debate that is now occurring in molecular biology, with reverberations to the age-old struggle between creationists and Darwinists (evolutionists).  The debate is the result of scientific advances in the field of molecular biology and the application of statistics in the complexity of life forms.  These advances have highlighted the mystery concerning the sudden appearance of highly diversified animal forms during the Cambrian Period in the earth’s past, which began about 541 million years ago.  In the preceding Precambrian Era, there were only sparse, simple, ambiguous, and undiversified life forms.  And even after the Cambrian Period, essentially no new basic body designs were produced by Nature.  The mystery there is where did that explosion of biological information during the Cambrian come from? 

There is an issue here because according to Charles Darwin, the animal bodily forms develop very slowly from very simple forms, like for example from single-celled bacteria to worm, to fish, to lizard, etc.  But we do not see such development of the animals in the fossil record before the Cambrian.  So, it seems that biological information suddenly came from nowhere.  That is very difficult to figure out.  Even Darwin feared for the soundness of his theory of evolution because of the Cambrian Explosion of life.  By the way, there were other explosions of information in the past, such as the Big Bang birth of the physical universe and the rise of human agriculture-based civilization.  These are also mysterious in their own ways.

Proponents of intelligent design, such as Stephen Meyer, maintain that foresight is a necessary input in order to produce such diversity of bodily structures in the Cambrian.  They say that you cannot leave such work to natural processes of evolution, as the latter takes too long to work and is too clumsy.  These scientists though did not identify who or what is the intelligent designer.  They are just saying that there must have been a ready-made blueprint first somewhere before producing such sudden appearance of diversified animal body structures in a relatively brief period of time.

So, did the ancients have something relevant to say to contribute some guiding light to this problem of biologists?

I think the nearest we can cite is the Story of Noah’s Ark and the Flood in the Bible.  That story was based on an earlier flood story in the Epic of Gilgamesh of ancient Mesopotamia.  Now, if we treat this flood story as a metaphorical expression of an underlying important message, my personal interpretation of the event generally goes like this:

The flood is not really H2O water.  It is related to the primordial singularity, a fundamental concept I have mentioned in an earlier blog post.  The flood probably marked the chaotic end to a life evolutionary cycle that preceded our present evolutionary cycle.  As you may remember, the Hindus have this very old idea of cycles in existence, expressed as the Night and Day of Brahma, which actually represent major cycles of evolution.  Day is life in activity, night is inactivity after the end of a cycle. 

So, Noah’s Ark where all male and female pairs of animals were saved, in a metaphorical way, represents the preservation of all information generated during that previously ended cycle, including all the bodily designs of life forms developed in that cycle.  In the next cycle, the one we are in now, all those information are sort of downloaded.  So, the surge in biological information that resulted in the Cambrian Explosion of life did not come from nowhere.  

I could have put more details, but that is all for now, Folks.  Done for the day.

(Thank you to pexels.com – Alejandro Quintanar for the photo of fossils above)

Published by rabando

I am a Filipino and a geologist by profession but I have also been an ardent searcher for answers to the fundamental questions of human existence ever since 42 years ago. It has been a long, lonely and difficult journey. Why are we here? Where did we come from? What on earth is this world where I found my self in? Surprisingly, I found out that the answers are right there under our noses. There just need to be some adjustments in the way people think.

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