IN OUR TIME: FUNGI

One of the BBC’s foremost science broadcasts can tell you a lot about the fragility and weakness of the theory of evolution, if you’re prepared to look and listen between the lines. Here I’m re-publishing a review of mine of the on-going series “In Our Time”.

The panel of scientists discussing fungi shared many interesting facts. Fungi are not plants, as we often suppose. They aren’t animals or bacteria: they are a kingdom all on their own. When we see a toadstool while wandering in the forest, we’re only seeing the tip of the fungal iceberg, because under the ground it consists of a network of fine filaments, which may stretch a very long way.

There are millions of species of fungi. Fungi or their spores are literally everywhere: you have some on you, and you can find them on the poles. But perhaps the most interesting fact about them, and again, one which most of us are unaware of, is that without fungi, there could be no life on earth. Readers of previous posts of mine will recognize that this is a recurring fact in “In Our Time” podcasts.

Please don’t misunderstand me when I highlight the problems I noticed with this podcast: I really love to listen to In Our Time. It’s fascinating, stimulating, entertaining and educational when the panel discusses true science, and In Our Time covers other fascinating subjects besides science. My only problem with it (actually it’s a benefit to my faith in the Creator) comes when the panel of learned evolutionists being interviewed reveals, usually unintentionally, the distinct lack of evidence that there is for the evolution of life and the many natural phenomena which make up our world and cosmos.

When one member of the panel is asked during the podcast about the relevance of fungi to the history of life on earth, he tells us that fungi are responsible for “the greening of the earth”. That is, he said, when plants moved from water onto land for the first time, “four hundred and fifty million years ago”, they were aided indispensably by fungi. Fungi provided vital nutrients for these primitive plants, which weren’t yet able to cope with growing out of water, he said. Once helped up onto land, plants were able to diversify, said the expert. As with many kinds of life, plants and fungi “evolved” a symbiotic relationship: ninety percent of plants have a co-dependent relationship with fungi today.

Melvyn the host, in the necessity of his role in the show, then asks the expert how they know about this event in which fungi helped plants to go terrestrial: how did they find out that this happened? A good question indeed. The answer seems at a casual listen, if you aren’t looking for flaws in the argument, to be convincing.

There are some remarkable fossils which demonstrate this transition and symbiosis, says the guest, and one in particular is dated to around four hundred and twenty million years old. Ooh! This sounds impressive, doesn’t it? It sounds like, goodness me, they really have evidence for evolution, and we’re just about to learn of it…but wait for the admission.

These fossils are incredibly well preserved specimens of early plants and plant roots, says the expert. And when you look into them, the fungi are right there. This is how the answer was worded:

They don’t just contain fossilized plants, but you can actually see evidence inside the root system of structures that are remarkably similar to the structures that you see today in modern-day plants”.

The first thing I noticed here is that fungi dated at almost half a billion years old “are remarkably similar to the structures that you see today in modern-day plants”. So they haven’t changed in all that time after all! Aren’t they supposed to be evolving and changing constantly? Shouldn’t they be very different now after all that time-more advanced, more complex, or even almost unrecognizable in comparison to their ancient counterparts? True, the plants they are found in are said to be “early”: could we perhaps just replace that word with “extinct”? And if they had these complex and modern-looking fungi inside them, didn’t they have to be themselves pretty complex to host the fungi?

The second thing I noticed here is that the fully formed fungus is there in the fully formed roots. There is no partial inhabitation; no transition; no half-formed fungi, and no half-occupied host plant, four hundred and twenty million years ago. Nothing new to see here! If fungi and plants were distinct and dependent on each other four hundred and twenty million years ago, according to the oldest fossils, where is the evidence for the alleged evolution of this symbiotic relationship between fungi and plants?

Thirdly, there is no evidence offered or even mentioned in this discussion of fungi, given by three learned evolutionists, of the evolution of fungi. How did they develop from simpler structures, and where can we go to see this evidence for evolution? They just appear, “remarkably similar” to their modern counterparts, and don’t demonstrate any development from simple cells, or simple forms…or transitions into anything else.

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