What About Plant Evolution?

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What About Plant Evolution?

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It might come as a surprise to realize Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species hardly touched on plant evolution. After all, plants make up half of living things on earth. Yet the supposed main mechanisms of evolution for developing new species—natural selection and mutation—have not explained either the sudden appearance of plants in the fossil record or why most plants have remained essentially the same today as in the past.

Darwin, of course, knew of the problem—which is why he hardly broached the subject in his book. Years later, he confessed to his good friend, botanist Joseph Hooker, that the sudden appearance of flowering plants in the fossil record was an "abominable mystery." In fact, just about everything dealing with the appearance of plants is, for evolutionists, an "abominable mystery."

Some 375,000 species of plants exist on earth today, and most have not noticeably changed from the way they first appear in the fossil record. As geneticist and biologist Jerry Bergman notes: "A major problem for Neo-Darwinism is the complete lack of evidence for plant evolution in the fossil record. As a whole, the fossil evidence of prehistoric plants is actually very good, yet no convincing transitional forms have been discoveredin the abundant plant fossil record" ("The Evolution of Plants: A Major Problem for Darwinists," Technical Journal, 2002, online edition, emphasis added throughout).

Moreover, evolution's principle of the "survival of the fittest" doesn't apply in the same way to plants. After all, most plants, unlike animals, possess chlorophyll and do not have to kill or compete to eat, since they can produce their own food through the process of photosynthesis. So the idea that plants must compete against other plants to survive is not generally applicable. Even those plants that do eat living things, such as the Venus flytrap, do not eat other plants, but small insects.

Remarkably, it is now known that many plants have built-in sensors that indicate how far they can grow without invading the space of other plants. A stunning example of this is the beautiful canopy made by trees whose branches stop growing as soon as they touch the branches of neighboring trees.

Years ago, the eminent botanist E.J.H. Corner made this startling admission about the origin and the development of plants that still holds true: "Much evidence can be adduced in favor of the theory of evolution—from biology, biogeography and paleontology, but I still think that, to the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is in favor of special creation [God doing the creating].

"If, however, another explanation could be found for this hierarchy of classification, it would be the [death] knell of the theory of evolution. Can you imagine how an orchid, a duckweed, and a palm have come from the same ancestry, and have we any evidence for this assumption? The evolutionist must be prepared with an answer, but I think that most would break down before an inquisition" (Contemporary Botanical Thought, 1961, p. 97). GN