[Quotes] [Mechanisms, #2, #3, #4, #5]
"In considering the Origin of Species, it is quite conceivable that a naturalist, reflecting on the mutual affinities of organic beings, on their embryological relations, their geographical distribution, geological succession, and other such facts, might come to the conclusion that species had not been independently created, but had descended, like varieties, from other species. Nevertheless, such a conclusion, even if well founded, would be unsatisfactory, until it could be shown how the innumerable species inhabiting this world have been modified, so as to acquire that perfection of structure and coadaptation which justly excites our admiration." (Darwin, Charles R. [English naturalist and founder of the modern theory of evolution], "The Origin of Species," , Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 6th edition, 1928, reprint, p.18).[top]
"The simple observation that life has evolved-that forms that existed in the past no longer exist, whereas those that live today were absent millions of years ago-is not the same as a theory of evolution. Fossils are a chronicle of past life; they are not a history of past events. Such a history demands a causal theorm became another. Darwin's theory of evolution by means of natural selection provided just such a causal explanation that converted a chronicle into a history." (Lewontin, Richard C. [Professor of Zoology and Biology, Harvard University], "Human Diversity," Scientific American Library: New York NY, 1995, p146.18).[top]
"If it is true that an influx of doubt and uncertainty actually marks periods of healthy growth in a science, then evolutionary biology is flourishing today as it seldom has flourished in the past. For biologists collectively are less agreed upon the details of evolutionary mechanics than they were a scant decade ago. Superficially, it seems as if we know less about evolution than we did in 1959, the centennial year of Darwin's on the Origin of Species." (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.14)[top]
"When discussing organic evolution the only point of agreement seems to be: "It happened." Thereafter, there is little consensus, which at first sight must seem rather odd." (Conway Morris, Simon [palaeontologist, Department of Earth Sciences, Cambridge University, UK], "Evolution: Bringing Molecules into the Fold," Cell, Vol. 100, pp.1-11, January 7, 2000, p.11)[top]
"Since we hardly know anything about the major types of organization, suggestions, and suggestions only, can be made. How can one confidently assert that one mechanism rather than another was at the origin of the creation of the plans of organization, if one relies entirely upon imagination to find a solution? Our ignorance is so great that we dare not even assign with any accuracy an ancestral stock to the phyla Protozoa, Arthropoda, Mollusca, and Vertebrata. The lack of concrete evidence relative to the "heyday" of evolution seriously impairs any transformist theory. In any case, a shadow is cast over the genesis of the fundamental structural plans and we are unable to eliminate it." (Grasse, Pierre-P. [editor of the 28-volume "Traite de Zoologie," former Chair of Evolution, Sorbonne University and ex- president of the French Academie des Sciences], "Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation," Academic Press: New York NY, 1977, p17)[top]
"A matter of unfinished business for biologists is the identification of evolution's smoking gun. As long as there have been theories of evolution (and certainly before Darwin), critics have complained that "the hypothesis remains destitute of satisfactory evidence" (Rev. William Paley 1802; quoted in Thomson 1997). ... Perhaps the most obvious challenge is to demonstrate evolution empirically. There are, arguably, some 2 to 10 million species on earth. The fossil record shows that most species survive somewhere between 3 and 5 million years. In that case, we ought to be seeing small but significant numbers of originations and extinctions every decade. .... The problem of the smoking gun of causality applied severely to Charles Darwin as he articulated his theory of evolution by natural selection. He had identified a powerful mechanism of change in living systems. He had summarized incontrovertible evidence that evolution had taken place in the fundamental sense of change in life over time (species, genera, whole phyla). He had demonstrated the equally fundamental weakness of "multiple creations" as a cause of the different faunas and floras existing in similar climatic regimes (Europe versus North America, for example). His problem was the demonstration of a direct and causal linkage between the evidence of change and the postulated mechanism." (Thomson, Keith Stewart [Professor of Biology and Dean of the Graduate School, Yale University], "Natural Selection and Evolution's Smoking Gun", American Scientist, Vol. 85, No. 6, November- December 1997, p.516).[top]
"The united efforts of paleontology and molecular biology, the latter stripped of its dogmas, should lead to the discovery of the exact mechanism of evolution, possibly without revealing to us the causes of the orientations of lineages, of the finalities of structures, of living functions, and of cycles. Perhaps in this area biology can go no farther: the rest is metaphysics." (Grasse, Pierre-P. [editor of the 28-volume "Traite de Zoologie," former Chair of Evolution, Sorbonne University and ex-president of the French Academie des Sciences], "Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation," , Academic Press: New York NY, 1977, p246)[top]
* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed not to be evolutionists.
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Created: 28 August, 1999. Updated: 4 July, 2003.