|Charleston - West Ashley: Alycia Alley - Sean Williams' Darwin |
"The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our text- books have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils. Yet Darwin was so wedded to gradualism [the idea that evolution proceeds only by small steps – I.B.] that he wagered his entire theory on a denial of this literal record:
'The geological record is extremely imperfect and this fact will to a large extent explain why we do not find interminable varieties, connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps, He who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record, will rightly reject my whole theory.' ”
(Emphasis added - I.B.) 
So, Stephen J. Gould admits that
1) Darwin’s theory of evolution is not based on the fossil record, but actually denies it;
2) the so-called transitional forms are extremely rare;
3) their rarity is a trade secret of paleontology: most people are unaware of it;
4) the textbook evolutionary trees are not based on fossils, but largely on inference.
The only other remark I would add at this point is that there are no undeniable "transitional forms" in the fossil record, only several dubious candidates.
Evolution is indeed accepted by faith in defiance of facts.
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 By Wally Gobetz; source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wallyg/8749797817; lisence:CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/)
 Stephen Jay Gould, Evolution’s erratic pace, Natural History 86(5), May 1977, pp.14–16.