"A large number of well-trained scientists outside of evolutionary biology and paleontology have unfortunately gotten the idea that the fossil record is far more Darwinian than it is. This probably comes from the oversimplification inevitable in secondary sources: low-level textbooks semipopular articles, and so on. Also, there is probably some wishful thinking involved. In the years after Darwin, his advocates hoped to find predictable progressions. In general. these have not been found-yet the optimism has died hard and some pure fantasy has crept into textbooks." (Raup, David M. [Professor of Geology, University of Chicago], "Evolution and the Fossil Record," Science, Vol. 213, No. 4505, 17 July 1981, p.289).[top]
"The argument is about the actual historical pattern of evolution; but outsiders, seeing a controversy unfolding, have imagined that it is about the truth of evolution-whether evolution occurred at all. This is a terrible mistake; and it springs, I believe, from the false idea that the fossil record provides an important part of the evidence that evolution took place. In fact, evolution is proven by a totally separate set of arguments-and the present debate within palaeontology does not impinge at all on the evidence that supports evolution." (Ridley, Mark [Zoologist, Oxford University], "Who doubts evolution?," New Scientist, Vol. 90, 25 June 1981, pp.830-832, p.830).[top]
"If the creationists want to impress the Darwinian establishment, it will be no use prating on about what the fossils say. No good Darwinian's belief in evolution stands on the fossil evidence for gradual evolution, so nor will his belief fall by it." (Ridley, Mark [zoologist, Oxford University], "Who doubts evolution?" New Scientist, Vol. 90, pp.830-832, 25 June 1981, p.832).[top]
"Darwin's own bulldog, Huxley, as Eldredge reminds us yet again, warned him against his insistent gradualism, but Darwin had good reason. His theory was largely aimed at replacing creationism as an explanation of how living complexity could arise out of simplicity. Complexity cannot spring up in a single stroke-of chance: that would be like hitting upon the combination number that opens a bank vault. But a whole series of tiny chance steps, if non-randomly selected, can build up almost limitless complexity of adaptation. It is as though the vault's door were to open another chink every time the number on the dials moved a little closer to the winning number. Gradualness is of the essence. In the context of the fight against creationism, gradualism is more or less synonymous with evolution itself. If you throw out gradualness you throw out the very thing that makes evolution more plausible than creation. Creation is a special case of saltation-the saltus is the large jump from nothing to fully formed modern life. When you think of what Darwin was fighting against, is it any wonder that he continually returned to the theme of slow, gradual, step-by- step change?" (Dawkins, Richard [Zoologist and Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, Oxford University], "What was all the fuss about?" Review of Eldredge N., "TimFrames: The Rethinking of Darwinian Evolution and the Theory of Punctuated Equilibria," Simon & Schuster, 1985, Nature, Vol. 316, August 1985, pp.683-684).[top]
"The known fossil record is not, and never has been, in accord with gradualism. What is remarkable is that, through a variety of historical circumstances, even the history of opposition has been obscured. Few modern paleontologists seem to have recognized that in the past century, as the biological historian William Coleman has recently written, `The majority of paleontologists felt their evidence simply contradicted Darwin's stress on minute, slow, and cumulative changes leading to species transformation.'" (Stanley, Steven M. [Professor of Paleobiology, The Johns Hopkins University, USA], "The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes, and the Origin of Species", Basic Books: New York NY, 1981, p.71).[top]
"Darwin's argument still persists as the favored escape of most paleontologists from the embarrassment of a record that seems to show so little of evolution directly. In exposing its cultural and methodological roots, I wish in no way to impugn the potential validity of gradualism (for all general views have similar roots). I wish only to point out that it was never `seen' in the rocks." (Gould, Stephen J. [Professor of Zoology and Geology, Harvard University, USA], "Evolution's Erratic Pace," Natural History, Vol. 86, No. 5, May 1977, p.14).[top]
"Perhaps we should not be surprised that vertebrate paleontologists did not support the prevailing view of slow, progressive evolution but tended to elaborate theories involving saltation, orthogenesis, or other vitalistic hypotheses. Most of the evidence provided by the fossil record does not support a strictly gradualistic interpretation, as pointed out by Eldredge and Gould (1972), Gould and Eldredge (1977), Gould (1985), and Stanley (1979, 1982)." (Carroll, Robert L. [Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, Redpath Museum, McGill University, Montreal, Canada], "Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution," W.H. Freeman & Co: New York NY, 1988, p.4. Emphasis in original).[top]
"PALEONTOLOGY. once more, furnishes both the most direct evidence for the fact of evolution, and the most imposing evidence against the conception of evolution as a continuous, gradual progression of adaptive relationships. "Gaps in the fossil record" were a serious stumbling block in Darwin's time, and despite the discovery of many missing linked for example the striking completion of horse family history, or the discovery of the bird ancestor Archaeopteryx, with its reptilian features-they still persist. Moreover, they persist systematically: over and over, with suddenness termed "explosive," a bewildering variety of new types appear: this is true, notably, for example, of the origin of the major mammalian types. Thus, as G.G. Simpson's calculations of rates of evolution show, the bat's wing if evolved by "normal" Mendelian mutation and selective pressure, would have had to begin developing well before the origin of the earth!" (Grene, Marjorie [Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of California, Davis], "The Faith of Darwinism," Encounter, Vol. 74, November 1959, p.54).[top]
"...we have proffered a collective tacit acceptance of the story of gradual adaptive change, a story that strengthened and became even more entrenched as the synthehesis took hold. We paleontologists have said that the history of life supports that interpretation, all the while really knowing that it does not." (Eldredge, Niles [Chairman and Curator of Invertebrates, American Museum of Natural History], "Time Frames: The Rethinking of Darwinian Evolution and the Theory of Punctuated Equilibria," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, 1985, p.44).[top]
"At the higher level of evolutionary transition between basic morphological designs, gradualism has always been in trouble, though it remains the "official" position of most Western evolutionists. Smooth intermediates between Bauplane are almost impossible to construct, even in thought experiments; there is certainly no evidence for them in the fossil record (curious mosaics like Archaeopteryx do not count). Even so convinced a gradualist as G. G. Simpson (1944) invoked quantum evolution and inadaptive phases to explain these transitions." (Gould, Stephen J. [Professor of Zoology and Geology, Harvard University, USA] & Eldredge, Niles [Chairman and Curator of Invertebrates, American Museum of Natural History], "Punctuated equilibria: the tempo and mode of evolution reconsidered," Paleobiology, Vol. 3, 1977, pp.115-147, p.147).[top]
"In spite of these examples, it remains true, as every paleontologist knows, that most new species, genera, and families and that nearly all new categories above the level of families appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences. (Simpson, George Gaylord [late Professor of Vertebrate Paleontology, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University], "The Major Features of Evolution," , Columbia University Press: New York, 1955, Second Printing, p.360).[top]
"The only illustration Darwin published in On the Origin of Species was a diagram depicting his view of evolution: species descendant from a common ancestor; gradual change of organisms over time; episodes of diversification and extinction of species. Given the simplicity of Darwin's theory of evolution, it was reasonable for paleontologists to believe that they should be able to demonstrate with the hard evidence provided by fossils both the thread of life and the gradual transformation of one species into another. Although paleontologists have, and continue to claim to have, discovered sequences of fossils that do indeed present a picture of gradual change over time, the truth of the matter is that we are still in the dark about the origin of most major groups of organisms. They appear in the fossil record as Athena did from the head of Zeus-full-blown and raring to go, in contradiction to Darwin's depiction of evolution as resulting from the gradual accumulation of countless infinitesimally minute variations, which, in turn, demands that the fossil record preserve an unbroken chain of transitional forms." (Schwartz, Jeffrey H. [Professor of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh, USA], "Sudden Origins: Fossils, Genes, and the Emergence of Species," John Wiley & Sons: New York NY, 1999, p.3).[top]
"It is not surprising that large evolutionary innovations are not well understood. None has ever been observed, and we have no idea whether any may be in progress. There is no good fossil record of any. Because they are difficult, evolution has occupied billions, not hundreds of thousands of years." (Wesson, Robert G. [political scientist], "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1994, reprint, p206)[top]
* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed to be creationists.
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