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The following are unclassified quotes posted in my email messages in January-
June, 2000. The date format is dd/mm/yy. See copyright conditions at end.
[Index: January, February, March, April, May, June, July-December]
January 1/01/00 "Another thing I must point out is that you cannot prove a vague theory wrong. If the guess that you make is poorly expressed and rather vague, and the method that you use for figuring out the consequences is a little vague - you are not sure, and you say, 'I think everything's right because it's all due to so and so, and such and such do this and that more or less, and I can sort of explain how this works...', then you see that this theory is good, because it cannot be proved wrong! Also if the process of computing the consequences is indefinite, then with a little skill any experimental results can be made to look like the expected consequences." (Feynman, R.P., "The Character of Physical Law," , Penguin: London, 1992, reprint, pp158-159) 4/01/00 "Most scientific theories, however, are ephemeral. Exceptions will likely be found that invalidate a theory in one or more of its tenets. These can then stimulate a new round of research leading either to a more comprehensive theory or perhaps to a more restrictive (i.e., more precisely defined) theory. Nothing is ever completely finished in science; the search for better theories is endless. The interpretation of a scientific experiment should not be extended beyond the limits of the available data. In the building of theories, however, scientists propose general principles by extrapolation beyond available data. When former theories have been shown to be inadequate, scientists should be prepared to relinquish the old and embrace the new in their never-ending search for better solutions. It is unscientific, therefore, to claim to have "proof of the truth" when all that scientific methodology can provide is evidence in support of a theory." (Stansfield, W.D., "The Science of Evolution," , Macmillan: New York NY, 1983, Eighth Printing, pp.8-9) 5/01/00 "There is a vast weight of empirical evidence about the universe which says that unless you invoke supernatural causes, the birds could not have arisen from muck by any natural processes. Well, if the birds couldn't have arisen from muck by any natural processes, then they had to arise from non-birds. The only alternative is to say that they did arise from muck because God's finger went out and touched that muck. That is to say, there was a non- natural process. And that's really where the action is. Either you think that complex organisms arose by non-natural phenomena, or you think that they arose by natural phenomena. If they arose by natural phenomena, they had to evolve. And that's all there is to it. And that's the only claim I'm making." (Lewontin, R.C., in Bethell, T., "Agnostic Evolutionists," in "The Electric Windmill: An Inadvertent Autobiography," Regnery Gateway: Washington DC, 1988, pp.205-206). 7/01/00 "The origin of the [genetic] code is perhaps the most perplexing problem in evolutionary biology. The existing translational machinery is at the same time so complex, so universal) and so essential that it is hard to see how it could have come into existence, or how life could have existed without it. The discovery of ribozymes has made it easier to imagine an answer to the second of these questions, but the transformation of an 'RNA world' into one in which catalysis is performed by proteins, and nucleic acids specialize in the transmission of information, remains a formidable problem." (Maynard Smith, J. & Szathmáry, E., "The Major Transitions in Evolution," W.H. Freeman: Oxford UK, 1995, p.81). 8/01/00 "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 theory of how and why one form 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, R.C., "Human Diversity," Scientific American Library: New York NY, 1995, p146) 9/01/00 "Neo-Darwinism has failed as an evolutionary theory that can explain the origin of species, understood as organisms of distinctive form and behaviour. In other words, it is not an adequate theory of evolution. What it does provide is a partial theory of adaptation, or microevolution (small- scale adaptive changes in organisms)." (Goodwin, B.C., "Neo-Darwinism has failed as an evolutionary theory," The Times Higher Education Supplement, May 19, 1995, p.18). 11/01/00 "We must not be led astray, however, by the popular characterization of selection as "the survival of the fittest." The word "fit" has many everyday connotations-physically fit, morally fit, and so forth-but none of these is what the evolutionist means by fitness. All that matters for evolutionary change is survival and reproduction. In evolutionary terms, an Olympic athlete who never has any children has a fitness of zero whereas J.S. Bach, who was sedentary and very much overweight, had an unusually high Darwinian fitness by virtue of his having been the father of twenty children." (Lewontin, R.C., "Human Diversity," Scientific American Library: New York NY, 1995, p.150). 12/01/00 "When we consider the remote past, before the origin of the actual species Homo sapiens, we are faced with a fragmentary and disconnected fossil record. Despite the excited and optimistic claims that have been made by some paleontologists, no fossil hominid species can be established as our direct ancestor...The earliest forms that are recognized as being hominid are the famous fossils, associated with primitive stone tools, that were found by Mary and Louis Leakey in the Olduvai gorge and elsewhere in Africa. These fossil hominids lived more than 1.5 million years ago and had brains half the size of ours. They were certainly not members of our own species, and we have no idea whether they were even in our direct ancestral line or only in a parallel line of descent resembling our direct ancestor." (Lewontin, R.C., "Human Diversity," Scientific American Library: New York NY, 1995, p.163). 15/01/00 "No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It seems never to happen. Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of change over millions of years, at a rate too slow to really account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history. When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the organisms did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on someplace else. Yet that's how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution." (Eldredge, N., "Reinventing Darwin: The Great Evolutionary Debate," , Phoenix: London, 1996, p.95). 16/01/00 "In discussing the power of evolutionary theory, Root-Bernstein says: "In the absence of evolutionary theories, any chronological ordering of the fossil record would seem to be a possibility, and no means would exist to choose one order over another." This statement expresses the common misconception that paleontologists arrange fossils in a theoretically reasonable order and then use this order to construct a chronology. In fact, no evolutionary theory at all is required to use fossils for geochronology. The best evidence is that the geological time scale in its modern form was fully developed by about 1840 - before Darwin's Origin of Species. The time scale based on fossils was built by geologists who were creationists. Since 1840, many details have been filled in, but the basic sequence has remained unchanged." (Raup, D.M., "Evolution and the Fossil Record," Science, Vol. 213, 17 July 1981, p.289). 18/01/00 "So, the geological time scale and the basic facts of biological change over time are totally independent of evolutionary theory. It follows that the documentation of evolution does not depend on Darwinian theory or any other theory. Darwinian theory is just one of several biological mechanisms proposed to explain the evolution we observe to have happened." (Raup D.M., "Evolution and the Fossil Record," Science, Vol. 213, 17 July 1981, p.289). 19/01/00 "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, D.M., "Evolution and the Fossil Record," Science, Vol. 213, No. 4505, 17 July 1981, p.289). 22/01/00 "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. This is illustrated by other statements in the Root-Bernstein letter, such as: `Evolution postdicts certain immutable trends of progressive change that can be falsified.' This is simply not the case! In the fossil record, we are faced with many sequences of change: modifications over time from A to B to C to D can be documented and a plausible Darwinian interpretation can often be made after seeing the sequence. But the predictive (or postdictive) power of theory in these cases is almost nil." (Raup, D.M., "Evolution and the Fossil Record," Science, Vol. 213, 17 July 1981, p.289). 23/01/00 "The criticism of the Darwinian theory given in this book arises straightforwardly from my belief that the theory is wrong, and that continued adherence to it is an impediment to discovering the correct evolutionary theory. To the extent that one is deflected by socioreligious considerations from correcting what is wrong, one hands a victory to opponents. To deny the paleontological evidence of evolution, and in particular man's place in it, is on par with denying that water flows downhill. In the Darwinian theory, while water flows downhill all right, it flows in rivers that are claimed to be uniformly graded, a graded river being one that goes downhill at a steady angle from its source to the sea." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p..xv). 24/01/00 "The trouble was that in reading widely during my early teens I ran into the Darwinian theory, for a little while with illusions and then with less respect than adults with bated breath were wont to show. The theory seemed to me to run like this: `If among the varieties of a species there is one that survives better in the environment than the others, then the variety that survives best is the one that best survives.' If I had known the word tautology I would have called this a tautology. People with still more bated breath, called it natural selection. I made them angry, just as I do today, by saying that it did nothing at all. You could select potatoes as much as you pleased but you would never make them into a rabbit. Nor by selecting oak trees could you make them into colonies of bats, and those who thought they could in my opinion were bats in the belfry." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.2) 25/01/00 "The biggest physical storm occurring in ten years usually produces as much change as all the rest put together. And the biggest in a hundred years as much or more than all the rest. And, perhaps, even the biggest in a thousand years.... Something of the same sort seems to happen with evolution. The fine-tuning of genes produces small changes. The addition of entirely new genes, perhaps whole batteries of new genes, produces large changes, grafted onto the genetic complement of an already existing organism." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p..xv. Ellipses in original.) 26/01/00 "Older folk in the know told me that selection didn't operate to make complicated things out of complicated things, only to make complex things out of simple ones. I couldn't understand how anything of the sort could be true, because, unlikely as it was, it would surely be less difficult to make a rabbit out of a potato than to make a rabbit out of sludge, which is what people said had happened, people with line after line of letters after their names who should have known what they were talking about, but obviously didn't." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.2) 27/01/00 "It was-and still is-very hard to arrive at this concept from inside biology. The trouble lay in an unremitting cultural struggle which had developed from 1860 onward between biologists on the one hand and the supporters of old beliefs on the other. The old believers said that rabbits had been created by God using methods too wonderful for us to comprehend. The new believers said that rabbits had been created from sludge, by methods too complex for us to calculate and by methods likely enough involving improbable happenings. Improbable happenings replaced miracles and sludge replaced God, with believers both old and new seeking to cover up their ignorance in clouds of words, but different words. It was over the words that passions raged, passions which continue to rumble on in the modern world, passions that one can read about with hilarious satisfaction in the columns of the weekly science magazine Nature and listen to in basso profundo pronouncements from learned scientific societies." (Hoyle F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.3). 31/01/00 "Because the old believers said that God came out of the sky, thereby connecting the Earth with events outside it, the new believers were obliged to say the opposite and to do so, as always, with intense conviction. Although the new believers had not a particle of evidence to support their statements on the matter, they asserted that the rabbit producing sludge (called soup to make it sound more palatable) was terrestrially located and that all chemical and biochemical transmogrifications of the sludge were terrestrially inspired. Because there was not a particle of evidence to support this view, new believers had to swallow it as an article of faith, otherwise they could not pass their examinations or secure a job or avoid the ridicule of their colleagues. So it came about from 1860 onward that new believers became in a sense mentally ill, or, more precisely, either you became mentally ill or you quitted the subject of biology, as I had done in my early teens. The trouble for young biologists was that, with everyone around them ill, it became impossible for them to think they were well unless they were ill, which again is a situation you can read all about in the columns of Nature." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, pp.3-4). February [top] 1/02/00 "I am convinced it is this almost trivial simplicity that explains why the Darwinian theory is so widely accepted, why it has penetrated through the educational system so completely. As one student text puts it, `The theory is a two-step process. First variation must exist in a population. Second, the fittest members of the population have a selective advantage and are more likely to transmit their genes to the next generation.' But what if individuals with a good gene A carry a bad gene B. having the larger value of |s|. Does the bad gene not carry the good one down to disaster? What of the situation that bad mutations must enormously exceed good ones in number? ... The essential problem for the Darwinian theory in its twentieth century form is how to cope with this continuing flood of adverse mutations, a far cry indeed from the trite problem of only the single mutation in (1.1). Supposing a favourable mutation to occur among the avalanche of unfavourable ones, how is the favourable mutation to advance against the downward pressure of the others?" (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, pp.8-9) 2/02/00 "To have any hope of success the neo-Darwinian theory must therefore appeal to a reproductive model quite different from the model mostly adopted by single-celled organisms. This is already an immense climb down from what is usually claimed for the theory. Gone is its "obvious" status. Only if a model can be found that contrives to uncouple the selective properties of one gene from another, permitting the occasional good mutation to survive and prosper in a sea of bad mutations, can evolution be made to work at all. How exquisitely complex the model needs to be to achieve such a remarkable result will be discussed in the next chapter." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.10) 3/02/00 "Then the mathematical properties of the complex model will be investigated up to the end of Chapter 5. Thereafter, in Chapter 6, we shall be in a position to discuss the extent to which the neo-Darwinian theory can be considered to work and the extent to which it cannot. To anticipate the eventual outcome it will be found that, subject to the choice of a highly sophisticated reproductive model, the theory works at the level of varieties and species, just as it was found empirically to do by biologists from the mid-nineteenth century onward. But the theory does not work at broader taxonomic levels; it cannot explain the major steps in evolution. For them, something not considered in the Darwinian theory is essential." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.10). 6/02/00 "At the core of punctuated equilibria lies an empirical observation: once evolved, species tend to remain remarkably stable, recognizable entities for millions of years. The observation is by no means new, nearly every paleontologist who reviewed Darwin's Origin of Species pointed to his evasion of this salient feature of the fossil record. But stasis was conveniently dropped as a feature of life's history to he reckoned with in evolutionary biology. And stasis had continued to be ignored until Gould and I showed that such stability is a real aspect of life's history which must be confronted-and that, in fact, it posed no fundamental threat to the basic notion of evolution itself. For that was Darwin's problem: to establish the plausibility of the very idea of evolution, Darwin felt that he had to undermine the older (and ultimately biblically based) doctrine of species fixity. Stasis, to Darwin, was an ugly inconvenience." (Eldredge, N., "Time Frames: The Rethinking of Darwinian Evolution and the Theory of Punctuated Equilibria," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, 1985, pp.188-189) 7/02/00 "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, N., "Time Frames: The Rethinking of Darwinian Evolution and the Theory of Punctuated Equilibria," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, 1985, p.14) 8/02/00 "Two points of principle are worth emphasis. The first is that the usually supposed logical inevitability of the theory of evolution by natural selection is quite incorrect. There is no inevitability, just the reverse. It is only when the present asexual model is changed to the sophisticated model of sexual reproduction accompanied by crossover that the theory can be made to work, even in the limited degree to be discussed .... This presents an insuperable problem for the notion that life arose out of an abiological organic soup through the development of a primitive replicating system. A primitive replicating system could not have copied itself with anything like the fidelity of present-day systems .... With only poor copying fidelity, a primitive system could carry little genetic information without L [the mutation rate] becoming unbearably large, and how a primitive system could then improve its fidelity and also evolve into a sexual system with crossover beggars the imagination." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.20) 11/02/00 "But evolution is different. Evolutionists purport to explain where we came from and how we developed into the complex organisms that we are. Physicists, by and large, do not. So, the study of evolution trespasses on the bailiwick of religion. And it has something else in common with religion. It is almost as hard for scientists to demonstrate evolution to the lay public as it would be for churchmen to prove transubstantiation or the virginity of Mary." (Wills, C.J., "The Wisdom of the Genes: New Pathways in Evolution," Basic Books: New York NY, 1989, p9) 14/02/00 "When it is taught in a superficial way, evolution becomes just as much of a fairy story as the creation myths of the Book of Genesis." (Wills, C.J., "The Wisdom of the Genes: New Pathways in Evolution," Basic Books: New York NY, 1989, p.10) 15/02/00 "Essentially, the same amino acid chain being found also in other animals and even in plants, we have a case in histone-4 where more than 200 base pairs are conserved across the whole of biology. The problem for the neo Darwinian theory is to explain how the one particular arrangement of base pairs came to be discovered in the first place. Evidently not by random processes, for with a chance 1/4 of choosing each of the correct base pairs at random, the probability of discovering a segment of 200 specific base pairs is 4200, which is equal to 10
. Even if one were given a random choice for every atom in every galaxy in the whole visible universe the probability of discovering histone-4 would still only be a minuscule ~1040." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, pp.102-103). 20/02/00 "Writing in the mid-1830s, Edward Blyth was well aware of the precision of adaptation at the level of varieties of species, but not above the level of species he maintained. The argument he gave was a powerful one, and in the later enthusiasm for the Darwinian theory it was never answered properly. Most species are limited to a geographical area, with good adaptation to the conditions well inside the area but with less and less good adaptation toward its boundaries. Why, Blyth asked, if species can evolve to the great extent that would be needed to explain the differences between genera, families, orders, and classes can they not evolve to the lesser extent that would maintain adaptation to and beyond the boundaries of their respective areas? Instead of doing so, however, species stay obstinately fixed, disappearing as the limits of their habitats are reached. According to Blyth, this fact, which was the rule not the exception, proved that the capacity of species to adapt must be limited, making what today we call the Darwinian theory (but which Blyth considered in 1837) untenable." (Hoyle F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.105). 22/02/00 "All scholarly subjects seem to go through cycles, from periods when most of the answers seem to be known to periods when no one is sure that even the questions are right. Such is the case for evolutionary biology. Twenty years ago Mayr, in his Animal Species and Evolution, seemed to have shown that if evolution is a jigsaw puzzle, then at least all the edge pieces were in place. But today we are less confident and the whole subject is in the most exciting ferment. Evolution is both troubled from without by the nagging insistencies of antiscientists and nagged from within by the troubling complexities of genetic and developmental mechanisms and new questions about the central mystery-speciation itself. In looking over recent literature in and around the field of evolutionary theory, I am struck by the necessity to reexamine the simpler foundations of the subject, to distinguish carefully between what we know and what we merely think we know. The first and strongest of our critics to be answered should be ourselves." (Thomson, K.S., "The Meanings of Evolution," American Scientist, Vol. 70, September-October 1982, p529). 22/02/00 "Meanwhile, Juliette and I had been invited to attend the celebration of the centenary of the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species, at the University of Chicago ... The preparations for the centenary celebrations were now in full swing, people arriving from many countries to render their homage to Darwin..." (Huxley, J.S., "Memories II," , Penguin: Harmondsworth, Middlesex UK, Reprinted, 1978, pp.181-182) 22/02/00 "From 1860 onward the more distant fossil record became a big issue, and over the next two decades discoveries were made that at first seemed to give support to the theory particularly the claimed discovery of a well- ordered sequence of fossil horse' dating back about 45 million years. Successes like this continue to be emphasized both to students and the public, but usually without the greater failures being mentioned. Horses according to the theory should be connected to other orders of mammals, which common mammalian stock should be connected to reptiles, and so on backward through the record. Horses should thus be connected to monkeys and apes, to whales and dolphins, rabbits, bears. ... But such connections have not been found. Each mammalian order can be traced backward for about 60 million years and then, with only one exception the orders vanish without connections to anything at all. The exception is an order of small insect-eating mammal that has been traced backward more than 65 million years..." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.107). 27/02/00 "A plot of the sun's course through our galactic locale shows that the sun has been traveling through the Gould's Belt interior in a region of very low average interstellar density for several million years. The sun is unlikely to have encountered a large, dense interstellar cloud in this relatively benign region during this time. Although our solar system is in the process of emerging from the Local Bubble, the sun's trajectory suggests that it will probably not encounter a large, dense cloud for at least several more million years. The consequences of such an encounter for the earth's climate are unclear; however, one wonders whether it is a coincidence that Homo sapiens appeared while the sun was traversing a region of space virtually devoid of interstellar matter." (Frisch, P.C., "The Galactic Environment of the Sun," American Scientist, Vol. 88, No. 1, January-February 2000, pp.53-54). 28/02/00 "The scientific establishment bears a grisly resemblance to the Spanish Inquisition. Either you accept the rules and attitudes and beliefs promulgated by the 'papacy' (for which read, perhaps, the Royal Society or the Royal College of Physicians), or face a dreadful retribution. We will not actually burn you at the stake, because that sanction, unhappily, is now no longer available under our milksop laws. But we will make damned sure that you are a dead duck in our trade." (Gould, D.W., "Letting poetry loose in the laboratory," New Scientist, 29 August 1992, p.51) 29/02/00 "To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei, as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certainly the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eyec ould be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered as subversive of the theory." (Darwin, C.R., "The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection," John Murray: London, Sixth Edition, 1872, Reprinted 1882, pp.143-144) March [top] 2/03/00 "The principal problem is morphological stasis. A theory is only as good as its predictions, and conventional neo-Darwinism, which claims to be a comprehensive explanation of evolutionary process, has failed to predict the widespread long-term morphological stasis now recognized as one of the most striking aspects of the fossil record." (Williamson, Peter G. [Assistant Professor of Geology, Harvard University], "Morphological stasis and developmental constraint: real problems for neo-Darwinism," Nature, Vol. 294, 19 November 1981, p.214) 3/03/00 "The speculations of the Origin of Species turned out to be wrong, as we have seen in this chapter. It is ironic that the scientific facts throw Darwin out, but leave William Paley, a figure of fun to the scientific world for more than a century, still in the tournament with a chance of being the ultimate winner." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C.., "The evolutionary record leaks like a sieve," in "Evolution from Space," , Paladin: London, 1983, reprint, pp.101-102) 4/03/00 "The point of my letter (Science's Compass, 30 July, p. 663), which perhaps was not well articulated, is that there is one hypothesis, central to evolution, that remains barely tested-that evolution proceeds through the process of survival and reproduction of the fittest." (Hogg, David. W. [cosmologist, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University, USA], Science, Vol. 286, 26 November 1999, p.167) 5/03/00 "Such a threshold model is in accord with Mayr's notion of the "genetic revolution" occurring in small, isolated, and inbreeding populations; merely the terms are different. But all such schemes suffer from the fundamental weakness of evolutionary biology: they are extremely difficult to test and therefore remain metaphors. We do not yet know enough about the developmental biology of organisms to know whether such ideas are consistent with the way in which development actually works." (Thomson, K.S., "The Meanings of Evolution," American Scientist, Vol. 70, September-October 1982, p..529-531, p.531) 6/03/00 "It was the aim of our nineteenth-century forebears to produce a description of the evolutionary process that would serve biology as Newtonian mechanics had served the physical sciences. The first two meanings of evolution provide the necessary basis for this unifying theory. Change over time is a fact, and descent from common ancestors is based upon such unassailable logic that we act as though it is a fact. Natural selection provides the outline of an explanatory theory. When physicists probed deeper, they found unsuspected complexity and uncertainty. It will be interesting to see what the next twenty years will bring for evolutionary biology." (Thomson, K.S., "The Meanings of Evolution," American Scientist, Vol. 70, September-October 1982, p..529-531, p.531) 8/03/00 "Further, it was supposed, simple organic molecules in the atmosphere, along with other more complex ones, would be expected to dissolve slowly in the newly formed oceans, creating a prebiotic soup. From this soup, it was hoped, life would somehow form spontaneously. This hypothesis continues to have many adherents, though it suffers from considerable difficulties. Chief among them is the fact that the soup would be extremely dilute. The rate of chemical reactions depends on how rapidly the reacting molecular species encounter one another-and that depends on how high their concentrations are. If the concentration of each is low, the chance that they will collide is very much lower. In a dilute prebiotic soup, reactions would be very slow indeed. A wonderful cartoon I recently saw captures this. It was entitled `The Origin of Life.' Dateline 3.874 billion years ago. Two amino acids drift close together at the base of a bleak rocky cliff; three seconds later, the two amino acids drift apart. About 4.12 million years later, two amino acids drift close to each other at the base of a primeval cliff.... Well Rome wasn't built in a day." (Kauffman, S.A., "At Home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity," , Penguin: London, 1996, reprint, p..34-35. Ellipses in original.) 8/03/00 "The solution to Cordelia's dilemma-the promotion of her nothing to a meaningful something-requires the more extensive revision of conceptual overhaul. Cordelia's dilemma cannot be resolved from within, for the existing theory has defined her action as a denial or non-phenomenon. A different theory must be imported from another context to change conceptual categories and make her response meaningful. In this sense, Cordelia's dilemma best illustrates the dynamic interaction of theory and fact in science. Correction of error cannot always arise from new discovery within an accepted conceptual system. Sometimes the theory has to crumble first, and a new framework be adopted, before the crucial facts can be seen at all." (Gould S.J., "Cordelia's Dilemma," in "Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History," , Crown: New York, 1997, reprint, p.127) 12/03/00 "When speaking here of Darwinism, I shall speak always of today's theory that is Darwin's own theory of natural selection supported by the Mendelian theory of heredity, by the theory of the mutation and recombination of genes in a gene pool, and by the decoded genetic code. This is an immensely impressive and powerful theory. The claim that it completely explains evolution is of course a bold claim, and very far from being established." (Popper, K.R., "Natural Selection and the Emergence of Mind," Dialectica, Vol. 32, Nos. 3-4, 1978, p..339-355, p..343-344) 13/03/00 "However, Darwin's own most important contribution to the theory of evolution, his theory of natural selection, is difficult to test. There are some tests, even some experimental tests; and in some cases, such as the famous phenomenon known as "industrial melanism," we can observe natural selection happening under our very eyes, as it were. Nevertheless, really severe tests of the theory of natural selection are hard to come by, much more so than tests of otherwise comparable theories in physics or chemistry." (Popper, K.R., "Natural Selection and the Emergence of Mind," Dialectica, Vol. 32, Nos. 3-4, 1978, p..339-355, p.344) 14/03/00 "The fact that the theory of natural selection is difficult to test has led some people, anti-Darwinists and even some great Darwinists, to claim that is a tautology. A tautology like "All tables are tables" is not, of course, testable; nor has it any explanatory power. It is therefore most surprising to hear that some of the greatest contemporary Darwinists themselves formulate the theory in such a way that it amounts to the tautology that those organisms that leave most offspring leave most offspring. And C. H. Waddington even says somewhere (and he defends this view in other places) that "Natural selection...turns out...to be a tautology". However, he attributes at the same place to the theory an "enormous power...of explanation". Since the explanatory power of a tautology is obviously zero, something must be wrong here." (Popper, K.R., "Natural Selection and the Emergence of Mind," Dialectica, Vol. 32, Nos. 3-4, 1978, p..339-355, p.344. Ellipses in original.) 16/03/00 "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 S.J. & Eldredge, N., "Punctuated equilibria: the tempo and mode of evolution reconsidered," Paleobiology, Vol. 3, 1977, pp.115-147, p.147) 19/03/00 "In its most daring and sweeping form, the theory of natural selection would assert that all organisms, and especially all those highly complex organs whose existence might be interpreted as evidence of design and, in addition, all forms of animal behaviour, have evolved as the result of natural selection; that is, as the result of chance-like inheritable variations, of which the useless ones are weeded out, so that only the useful ones remain. If formulated in this sweeping way, the theory is not only refutably but actually refuted. For not all organs serve a useful purpose: as Darwin himself points out, there are organs like the tail of the peacock, and behavioural programmes like the peacock's display of his tail, which cannot be explained by their utility, and therefore not by natural selection." (Popper, K.R., "Natural Selection and the Emergence of Mind," Dialectica, Vol. 32, Nos. 3-4, 1978, p..339-355, p..345-346. Emphasis original.) 19/03/00 "Although a biologist, I must confess that I do not understand how life came about. Of course, it depends on the definition of life. To me, autoreplication of a macromolecule does not yet represent life. Even a viral particle is not a life organism, it only can participate in life processes when it succeeds in becoming part of a living host cell. Therefore, I consider that life only starts at the level of a functional cell. The most primitive cells may require at least several hundred different specific biological macromolecules. How such already quite complex structures may have come together, remains a mystery to me. The possibility of the existence of a Creator, of God, represents to me a satisfactory solution to this problem." (Arber, Werner [Professor of Microbiology at the University of Basel, Switzerland, shared Nobel Prize for Physiology/Medicine in 1978], "The Existence of a Creator Represents a Satisfactory Solution," in Margenau H. & Varghese R.A., eds., "Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe Life, and Homo Sapiens," , Open Court: La Salle IL, 1993, Second Printing, pp.142- 143) 20/03/00 "At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla." (Darwin, C.R., "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex," , John Murray: London, Second Edition, 1922, reprint, pp.241-242) 21/03/00 "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.1) 23/03/00 "There are a number of problems with hypothetical schemes capable of producing rapid, large, coherent changes in phenotypes. Equally large immediate changes in the genotype might be needed, and any large change in genotype or phenotype must surely be sufficiently disruptive to be lethal. And where would a large change in a phenotype or genotype come from? Moreover, suppose an oddity were to be produced, how would a population be established and maintained?" (Thomson, K.S., "The Meanings of Evolution," American Scientist, Vol. 70, September-October 1982, pp.529-531, p.530) 24/03/00 "And as Darwinists and neo-Darwinists have become ever more adept at finding possible selective advantages for any trait one cares to mention, explanation in terms of the all-powerful force of natural selection has come more and more to resemble explanation in terms of the conscious design of the omnipotent Creator." (Ho M-W. & Saunders P.T., eds., "Beyond Neo- Darwinism: An Introduction to the New Evolutionary Paradigm," Academic Press: London, 1984, p.x) 25/03/00 "If you isolate a small number of individuals from the main population and prevent them from interbreeding with the main population, then, after a time, the distribution of genes in the gene pool of the new population will differ somewhat from that of the original population. This will happen even if selection pressures are completely absent. Moritz Wagner, a contemporary of Darwin, and of course a pre-Mendelian, was aware of this situation. He therefore introduced a theory of evolution by genetic drift, made possible by reproductive isolation through geographical separation. In order to understand the task of natural selection, it is good to remember Darwin's reply to Moritz Wagner. Darwin's main reply to Wagner was: if you have no natural selection, you cannot explain the evolution of the apparently designed organs, like the eye. Or in other words, without natural selection, you cannot solve Paley's problem." (Popper, K.R., "Natural Selection and the Emergence of Mind," Dialectica, Vol. 32, Nos. 3-4, 1978, p..339-355, p.345) 26/03/00 "The 'modern evolutionary synthesis' convinced most biologists that natural selection was the only directive influence on adaptive evolution. Today, however, dissatisfaction with the synthesis is widespread, and creationists and antidarwinians are multiplying. The central problem with the synthesis is its failure to show (or to provide distinct signs) that natural selection of random mutations could account for observed levels of adaptation." (Leigh E.G., Jr, "The modern synthesis, Ronald Fisher and creationism," Trends in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 14, no. 12, p..495-498, December 1999, p.495) 27/03/00 "At a recent meeting in Chicago, a highly distinguished international panel of experts was polled. All considered the experimental production of life in the laboratory imminent, and one maintained that this has already been done-his opinion was not based on a disagreement about the facts but on a definition as to just where, in a continuous sequence, life can be said to begin." (Simpson G.G., "The World into Which Darwin Led Us," Science, Vol. 131, No. 3405, 1 April 1960, p..966-974, p.969) 27/03/00 "Today, however, the picture is entirely different. More and more workers are showing signs of dissatisfaction with the synthetic theory. Some are attacking its philosophical foundations, arguing that the reason that it has been so amply confirmed is simply that it is unfalsifiable: with a little ingenuity any observation can be made to appear consistent with it. Others have been deliberately setting out to work in just those areas in which neo- Darwinism is least comfortable, like the problem of the gaps in the fossil record or the mechanisms of non-Mendelian inheritance. Still others, notably some systematists, have decided to ignore the theory altogether, and to carry on their research without any a priori assumption about how evolution has occurred. Perhaps most significantly of all, there is now appearing a stream of articles and books defending the synthetic theory. It is not so long ago that hardly anyone thought this was necessary." (Ho M-W. & S Neo-Darwinism: An Introduction to the New Evolutionary Paradigm," Academic Press: London, 1984, p.ix) 29/03/00 "There is a theory which states that many living animals can be observed over the course of time to undergo changes so that new species are formed. This can be called the `Special Theory of Evolution' and can be demonstrated in certain cases by experiments. On the other hand there is the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form. This theory can be called the `General Theory of Evolution' and the evidence that supports it is not sufficiently strong to allow us to consider it as anything more than a working hypothesis. It is not clear whether the changes that bring about speciation are of the same nature as those that brought about the development of new phyla. The answer will be found by future experimental work and not by dogmatic assertions that the General Theory of Evolution must be correct because there is nothing else that will satisfactorily take its place." (Kerkut G.A., "Implications of Evolution," in Kerkut G.A., ed. "International Series of Monographs on Pure and Applied Biology, Division: Zoology," Volume 4, Pergamon Press: New York NY, 1960, p.157) 30/03/00 "The primary problem with the [modern evolutionary] synthesis is that its makers established natural selection as the director of adaptive evolution by eliminating competing explanations, not by providing evidence that natural selection among 'random' mutations could, or did, account for observed adaptation (Box 2). Mayr remarked, 'As these non-Darwinian explanations were refuted during the synthesis ... natural selection automatically became the universal explanation of evolutionary change (together with chance factors).' Depriving the synthesis of plausible alternatives, which seemed such a triumph, in fact sowed the seeds of its faults." (Leigh E.G., Jr, "The modern synthesis, Ronald Fisher and creationism," Trends in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 14, no. 12, p..495-498, December 1999, p.495) April [top] 1/04/00 "The theory of natural selection may be so formulated that it is far from tautological. In this case it is not only testable, but it turns out to be not strictly universally true. " (Popper, K.R., "Natural Selection and the Emergence of Mind," Dialectica, Vol. 32, Nos. 3-4, 1978, p..339-355, p.346) 2/04/00 "Matter does not need special instructions to manufacture snowflakes or sodium chloride. These forms are within its power. Not so with organic forms. Thus living forms transcend all other natural forms, not merely because of their unique activities (see Chapter 2) but also because the laws of physics and chemistry alone cannot produce them. What does produce them? What cause is responsible for the origin of the genetic code and directs it to produce animal and plant species? It cannot be matter because of itself matter has no inclination to these forms, any more than it has to the form Poseidon or to the form of a microchip or any other artifact. There must be a cause apart from matter that is able to shape and direct matter. Is there anything in our experience like this? Yes, there is: our own minds. The statue's form originates in the mind of the artist, who then subsequently shapes matter, in the appropriate way. The artist's mind is the ultimate cause of that form existing in matter, even if he or she invents a machine to manufacture the statues. For the same reasons there must be a mind that directs and shapes matter into organic forms. Even if it does so by creating chemical mechanisms to carry out the task with autonomy, this artist will be the ultimate cause of those forms existing in matter. This artist is God, and nature is God's handiwork."(Augros R. & Stanciu G., "The New Biology: Discovering the Wisdom in Nature," New Science Library, Shambhala: Boston, MA, 1987, pp.190-191) 3/04/00 "We have repeatedly emphasized the fundamental problems posed for the biologist by the fact of life's complex organization. We have seen that organization requires work for its maintenance and that the universal quest for food is in part to provide the energy needed for this work. But the simple expenditure of energy is not sufficient to develop and maintain order. A bull in a china shop performs work, but he neither creates nor maintains organization. The work needed is particular work; it must follow specifications; it requires information on how to proceed." (Simpson G.G., & Beck W.S., "Life: An Introduction To Biology," , Routledge & Kegan Paul: London, Second Edition, 1965, p.466) 4/04/00 "IN crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, and were asked how the stone came to be there, I might possibly answer, that, for any thing I knew to the contrary, it had lain there forever: nor would it perhaps be very easy to shew the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place, I should hardly think of the answer which I had before given, that, for any thing I knew, the watch might have always been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch, as well as for the stone? Why is it not as admissible in the second case, as in the first? For this reason, and for no other, viz. that, when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive (what we could not discover in the stone) that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose, e. g. that they are so formed and adjusted as to produce motion, and that motion so regulated as to point out the hour of the day; that, if the several parts had been differently shaped from what they are, of a different size from what they are, or placed: after any other manner, or in any other order, than that in which they are placed, either no motion at all would've been carried on in the machine, or none which would have answered the use, that is now served by it." (Paley W., "Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature," , St. Thomas Press: Houston, TX, 1972, reprint, pp.1-2. Emphasis in original.) 6/04/00 "Nor would it, I apprehend, weaken the conclusion, that we had never seen a watch made; that we had never known an artist capable of making one; that we were altogether incapable of executing such a piece of workmanship ourselves, or of understanding in what manner it was performed; all this being no more than what is true of some exquisite remains of ancient art, of some lost arts, and to the generality of mankind, of the more curious productions: of modern manufacture. Does one man in a million know how oval frames are turned? Ignorance of this kind exalts our opinion of the unseen and unknown artist's skill, if he be unseen and unknown, but raises no doubt in our minds of the existence and agency of such an artist, at some former time, and in some place or other. Nor can I perceive that it varies at all the inference, whether the question arise concerning a human agent, or concerning an agent of a different species, or an agent possessing, in some respects, a different nature." (Paley W., "Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature," , St. Thomas Press: Houston, TX, 1972, reprint, p.3) 6/04/00 "Neither, secondly, would it invalidate out conclusion, that the watch sometimes went wrong, or that it seldom went exactly right. The purpose of the machinery, the design, and the designer, might be evident, and in the case supposed would be evident, in whatever way we accounted for the irregularity of the movement, or whether we could account for it or not. It is not necessary that a machine be perfect, in order to shew with what design it was made: still less necessary, where the only question is, whether it were made with any design at all." (Paley W., "Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature," , St. Thomas Press: Houston, TX, 1972, reprint, p..3-4) 7/04/00 "Nor, thirdly, would it bring any uncertainty into the argument, if there were a few parts of the watch concerning which we could not discover, or had not yet discovered, in what manner they conduced to the general effect; or even some parts, concerning which we could not ascertain, whether they conduced to that effect in any manner whatever. For, as to the first branch of the case; if, by the loss, or disorder, or decay of the parts in question, the movement of the watch were found in fact to be stopped, or disturbed, or retarded, no doubt would remain in our minds as to the utility or intention of these parts, although we should be unable to investigate the manner according to which, or the connection by which, the ultimate effect depended upon their action or assistance: and the more complex is the machine, the more likely is this obscurity to arise. Then, as to the second thing supposed, namely, that there were parts, which might be spared without prejudice to the movement of the watch, and that we had proved this by experiment, -these superfluous parts, even if we were completely assured that they were such, would not vacate the reasoning which we had instituted concerning other parts. The indication of contrivance remained, with respect to them, nearly as it was before" (Paley W., "Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature," , St. Thomas Press: Houston, TX, 1972, reprint, p.4) 8/04/00 "Nor, fourthly, would any man in his senses think the existence of the watch, with its various machinery, accounted for, by being told that it was one out of possible combinations of material forms; that whatever he had found in the place where he found the watch, must have contained some internal configuration or other; and that this configuration might be the structure now exhibited, viz. of the works of a watch, as well as a different structure." (Paley W., "Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature," , St. Thomas Press: Houston, TX, 1972, reprint, p.4) 11/04/00 "Nor, fifthly, would it yield his inquiry more satisfaction to be answered that there existed in things a principle of order, which had disposed the parts of the watch into their present form and situation. He never knew a watch made by the principle of order; nor can he even form to himself an idea of what is meant by a principle of order, distinct from the intelligence of the watch-maker." (Paley W., "Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature," , St. Thomas Press: Houston, TX, 1972, reprint, p.5) 13/04/00 "Sixthly, he would be surprised to hear, that the mechanism of the watch was no proof of contrivance, only a motive to induce the mind to think so:" (Paley W., "Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature," , St. Thomas Press: Houston TX, 1972, reprint, p.5) 15/04/00 "And not- less surprised to be informed, that the watch in his hand was nothing more than the result of the laws of metallic nature. It is a perversion of language to assign any law, as the efficient, operative, cause of any thing. A law presupposes an agent; for it is only the mode, according to which an agent proceeds: it implies a power; for it is the order, according to which that power acts. Without this agent, without this power, which are both distinct from itself, the law does nothing; is nothing. The expression, `the law of metallic nature,' may sound strange and harsh to a philosophic ear, but it seems quite as justifiable as some others which are more familiar to him, such as `the law of vegetable nature'- `the law of animal nature,' or indeed as `the law of nature' in general, when assigned as the cause of phaenomena, in exclusion of agency and power, or when it is substituted into the place of these." (Paley W., "Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature," , St. Thomas Press: Houston TX, 1972, reprint, p.5. Emphasis original) 18/04/00 "Second Corollary-Too Much Perfection. Darwin formulated this himself in the first edition of The Origin of Species: `Natural selection tends only to make each being as perfect as, or slightly more perfect than, the other inhabitants of the same area.' [Darwin C., "The Origin of Species," 1859, First edition, Harvard University Press, Reprinted, 1966, p.201] Eiseley reports that in 1869, after only ten years, it was brushed aside by no less a person than Alfred Russel Wallace, co-inventor with Darwin of the doctrine of natural selection. Perceiving that the gap between the brain of the ape and that of the lowest savage was too big, Wallace announced a heresy: 'An instrument has been developed in advance of the needs of its possessor.' [Wallace A.R., "Geological Climates and the Origin of Species," Quarterly Review, Vol. 126, 1869, p..359-94, p.393] He challenged the whole Darwinian position by insisting that artistic, mathematical, and musical abilities could not be explained on the basis of natural selection and the struggle for existence. Something else, he contended, some unknown spiritual element, must have been at work in the elaboration of the human brain." (Macbeth N., "Darwin Retried: An Appeal to Reason," Gambit: Boston MA, 1971, pp.102-103). 20/04/00 "Neither, lastly, would our observer be driven out of his conclusion, or from his confidence in its truth, by being told that he knew nothing at all about the matter. He knows enough for his argument. He knows the utility of the end: he knows the subserviency and adaptation of the means to the end. These points being known, his ignorance of other points, his doubts concerning other points, affect not the certainty of his reasoning. The consciousness of knowing little, need not beget a distrust of that which he does know." (Paley W., "Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature," , St. Thomas Press: Houston TX, 1972, reprint, p..5-6) 21/04/00 "The process of evolution appears not to be a matter of natural selection of chance variations of adaptational value. Rather it is working upon some definite law that we do not yet comprehend. The law probably began its operations with the commencement of life, and it is carrying this on according to some definite plan." (Willis J.C., "The Course of Evolution: By Differentiation or Divergent Mutation Rather Than By Selection," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1940, p.191) 23/04/00 "Popper himself, in "The Poverty of Historicism" singles out evolutionary theory for an attack. "Can there be a law of evolution?" "No, the search for the law of the 'unvarying order' in evolution cannot possibly fall within the scope of scientific method...". By this, Popper means only that the history of living organisms and their transformations on Earth are a specific sequence of unique events, no different from, say, the history of England. Since it is a unique sequence, no generalities can be constructed about it." (Lewontin, R.C., "Testing the Theory of Natural Selection," review of Creed R., ed., "Ecological Genetics and Evolution," Blackwell: Oxford, 1971, in Nature, Vol. 236, March 24, 1972, p.181. Ellipses in original.) 25/04/00 "The first rule for any scientific hypothesis ought to be that it is at least possible to conceive of an observation that would contradict the theory. For what good is a theory that is guaranteed by its internal logical structure to agree with all conceivable observations, irrespective of the real structure of the world? If scientists are going to use logically unbeatable theories about the world, they might as well give up natural science and take up religion. Yet is that not exactly the situation with regard to Darwinism? The theory of evolution by natural selection states that changes in the inherited characters of species occur, giving rise to differentiation in space and time, because different genetical types leave different numbers of offspring in different environments. ... Such a theory can never be falsified, for it asserts that some environmental difference created the conditions for natural selection of a new character. It is existentially quantified so that the failure to find the environmental factor proves nothing, except that one has not looked hard enough. Can one really imagine observations about nature that would disprove natural selection as a cause of the difference in bill size? The theory of natural selection is then revealed as metaphysical rather than scientific. Natural selection explains nothing because it explains everything." (Lewontin, R.C., "Testing the Theory of Natural Selection," review of Creed R., ed., "Ecological Genetics and Evolution," Blackwell: Oxford, 1971, in Nature, Vol. 236, March 24, 1972, p.181) 26/04/00 "If deterministic constraints exist, then certain regularities or trends in the large scale pattern of evolution should be evident. Yet very few studies have addressed this problem. One main reason is that natural selection is strictly a local mechanism (Saunders and Ho, 1976) and hence inherently unable to account for any global trend or pattern (Vrba, Chapter 5). Another reason is that evolutionary pattern itself is the product of inference from available data. Where inference is habitually made under certain presumptions, the resulting pattern becomes correspondingly biased. A case in point is the phylogenetic classification of organisms" (Ho M-W. & Saunders P.T., "Pluralism and Convergence in Evolutionary Theory," in Ho M-W. & Saunders P.T., eds., "Beyond Neo-Darwinism: An Introduction to the New Evolutionary Paradigm," Academic Press: London, 1984, p.7) 27/04/00 "The ability of species to adapt by changing one base pair at a time on any gene, and to do so with comparative rapidity if selective advantages are reasonably large, explains the fine details of the matching of many species to their environment. It was from the careful observation of such matchings by naturalists in the mid-nineteenth century that the Darwinian theory arose. Because the observations were made with extreme care, it was highly probable that immediate inferences drawn from them would prove to be correct, as the work of Chapters 3 to 6 shows to be the case. What was in no way guaranteed by the evidence, however, was that evolutionary inferences correctly made in the small for species and their varieties could be extrapolated to broader taxonomic categories, to kingdoms, divisions, classes, and orders. Yet this is what the Darwinian theory did, and it was by going far outside its guaranteed range of validity that the theory ran into controversies and difficulties which have never been cleared up over more than a century." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.137). 29/04/00 "Zircon dating, which calculates a fossil's age by measuring the relative amounts of uranium and lead within the crystals, had been whittling away at the Cambrian for some time. By 1990, for example, new dates obtained from early Cambrian sites around the world were telescoping the start of biology's Big Bang from 600 million years ago to less than 560 million years ago. Now, with information based on the lead content of zircons from Siberia, virtually everyone agrees that the Cambrian started almost exactly 543 million years ago and, even more startling, that all but one of the phyla in the fossil record appeared within the first 5 million to 10 million years. `We now know how fast fast is,' grins Bowring. `And what I like to ask my biologist friends is, How fast can evolution get before they start feeling uncomfortable?'" (Nash J.M., "When Life Exploded," Time, December 4, 1995, p74) May [top] 2/05/00 "Evidently nature can no longer be seen as matter and energy alone. Nor can all her secrets be unlocked with the keys of chemistry and physics, brilliantly successful as these two branches of science have been in our century. A third component is needed for any explanation of the world that claims to be complete. To the powerful theories of chemistry and physics must be added a late arrival: a theory of information. Nature must be interpreted as matter, energy, and information." (Campbell J., "Grammatical Man: Information, Entropy, Language and Life," , Penguin Books: Harmondsworth, Middlesex UK, 1984, reprint, p.16) 3/05/00 "Aviation engineers look with envy on birds and especially insects. Their flapping wings lift and propel them far more efficiently than the fixed wings of aircraft. One reason is their ability to exploit the subtleties of stalling. If the angle of attack of a wing is increased, it ultimately stalls, with sudden disastrous loss of lift. No fixed-wing aircraft dare risk stalling But an insect with oscillating wings can exploit an intriguing loophole in the laws of aerodynamics. Accelerated at a high angle of attack into the stalling regime, a wing takes a short while to stall. And until it does, it generates enormous lift. By speeding into stall and out again at each flap, an insect wing develops amazingly high average lift." (Jones D., "The insect plane," Nature, Vol. 400, 5 August 1999, p.513). 3/05/00 "The origin of sugars, including ribose, seems readily explicable by the prebiotic functioning of the formose reaction... In fact we are dealing here with a complex network of reactions, producing sugars from pre-existing sugars and formaldehyde.... There are two problems with this network that should be mentioned. First, the sugars formed are rather unstable, so, if they are to be present in significant amounts, this can only be in a steady state of formation and decay. It is imperative, therefore, that the end products of sugar decay be recycled to formaldehyde. Second, it is not at all obvious how ribose, among the more than 40 sugars could have been sufficiently prevalent under prebiotic conditions." (Maynard Smith, J. & Szathmáry, E., "The Major Transitions in Evolution," W.H. Freeman: Oxford UK, 1995, p..30-31). 4/05/00 "Critique of Current Theories of Evolution. We believe that it is possible to draw up a list of basic rules that underlie existing molecular evolutionary models: 1. All theories are monophyletic, meaning that they all start with the Urgene and the Urzelle which have given rise to all proteins and all species, respectively. 2. Complexity evolves mainly through duplications and mutations in structural and control genes. 3. Genes can mutate or remain stable, migrate laterally from species to species, spread through a population by mechanisms whose operation is not fully understood, evolve coordinately, splice, stay silent, and exist as pseudogenes. 4. Ad hoc arguments can be invented (such as insect vectors or viruses) that can transport a gene into places where no monophyletic logic could otherwise explain its presence. This liberal spread of rules, each of which can be observed in use by scientists, does not just sound facetious but also, in our opinion, robs monophyletic molecular evolution of its vulnerability to disproof, and thereby of its entitlement to the status of a scientific theory." (Schwabe C. & G.W., "A Polyphyletic View of Evolution: The Genetic Potential Hypothesis," Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Vol. 27, No. 3, p..465-485, Spring 1984, p.467. Footnotes omitted.) 7/05/00 "Setting aside the problem of the origin of ribose, the synthesis of nucleosides (base and sugar linked together as in present-day nucleotides) also poses problems. Purines react with ribose to yield the corresponding nucleosides in small amounts. The analogous reaction with pyrimidines seems hopeless. The phosphorylation of nucleosides to nucleotides can be done in dry-phase with relatively good yield, but all sorts of isomers with varying degrees of phosphorylation emerge. This lack of purity is important because accurate replication of a polymer depends on chemical purity." (Maynard Smith, J. & Szathmáry, E., "The Major Transitions in Evolution," W.H. Freeman: Oxford UK, 1995, p..31-32). 8/05/00 "Lipid formation again could have been preceded by the appearance of their constituents: fatty acids, glycerol and phosphate. While the abiogenic reaction between these three seems plausible, we have trouble with the formation of membranogenic lipids: no long-chain (C6-C18) linear (nonbranched) fatty acids have been synthesized in electric discharge reactions, although they would be indispensable for prebiotic membrane formation." (Maynard Smith, J. & Szathmáry, E., "The Major Transitions in Evolution," W.H. Freeman: Oxford UK, 1995, p.32). 9/05/00 "Summarizing, one is left with ambivalent feelings. On the positive side, one is amazed by the ready formation of several biologically significant compounds, but it is discouraging that many important molecules resist prebiotic synthesis in acceptable quantities." (Maynard Smith, J. & Szathmáry, E., "The Major Transitions in Evolution," W.H. Freeman: Oxford UK, 1995, p.32). 11/05/00 "So, too, with Darwin's theory that evolution was the result of, among other processes, the survival of the fittest, a belief qualified rather than destroyed by the development of genetics and biochemistry. 'Only one theory has been advanced to make an attempt to understand the development of life, the Darwin-Wallace theory of evolution,' he said as late as 1972, 'and a very feeble attempt it is, based on such flimsy assumptions, mainly of morphological-anatomical nature that it can hardly be called a theory.' And after dealing with certain evolutionary examples he added, with a vigour that would do credit to a modern Creationist rather than an accomplished scientist. 'I would rather believe in fairies than in such wild speculation.'" (Clark R.W., "The Life of Ernst Chain [Nobel Prize for Physiology & Medicine, 1945]: Penicillin and Beyond," Weidenfeld & Nicolson: London, 1985, p.147) 13/05/00 "Both Mr. Benjamin and Mr. Robertson object to the meaning which I attach to the word `purpose.' They agree with Dr. Julian Huxley that purpose should be reserved for a plan or end emanating from the living conscious human brain. What are we to say, then, about such a complicated and efficient instrument as the human eye? If it had been made of wood, brass, and glass, it would have been said to have been planned for a purpose, but because it has been `evolved,' is made up of living tissues, and came into existence without a preliminary `blue print,' it is not purposive. Are not my critics, by the use of a verbal quibble, seeking a sophist's escape from a real difficulty? Would it not be more honest to say that the finer purposive adaptations we see in plants and animals remain, as yet, unexplained? The eye has been evolved; that much is quite certain; the living vital forces which have moulded it are probably still at work, but as yet we have not isolated them. I could as easily believe the theory of the Trinity as one which maintains that living, developing protoplasm, by mere throws of chance, brought the human eye into existence. The essence of living protoplasm is its purposiveness." (Keith A., "Replies to Critics," in "Essays on Human Evolution," , Watts & Co: London, Third Impression, 1947, pp.216-217). 14/05/00 "Dr. Waddington recognizes a trend or tendency in evolutionary changes; so do I. Now, when statesmen control human affairs so that they move towards a definite end, we say that a policy is being pursued. Do not the trends and tendencies we note in evolutionary changes represent a policy, although no council meeting has been held and no written draft ever prepared? I hold that the factors which control evolutionary events are so regulated as to produce automatically the direction of change, giving all the appearance of a devised policy. Mr. Robertson and I agree that man has been evolved, but whereas he regards man's evolution as a result of chance, I see ill it the successful result of a trend or policy which affected progressively the development and equipment of the human brain. The brain, from being an instrument fit for anthropoids, passed on to a state in which the range of feeling, understanding, and of manipulative skill, became fit for men. To ask me to believe that the evolution of man has been determined by a series of chance events is to invite me to give credit to what is biologically unbelievable." (Keith A., "Replies to Critics," in "Essays on Human Evolution," , Watts & Co: London, Third Impression, 1947, p.217). 15/05/00 "There were at least three factors in Chain's dismissal of Darwin's theory of evolution. One was his general dislike of theories which could not be experimentally tested...There is no doubt that he did not like the theory of evolution by natural selection - he disliked theories in general, and more especially when they assumed the form of dogma. He also felt that evolution was not really a part of science, since it was, for the most part, not amenable to experimentation - and he was, and is, by no means alone in this view. ...Scepticism was reinforced by his view that a belief in natural selection like, he felt, too great a reliance on molecular biology - would make men feel that they understood everything." (Clark R.W., "The Life of Ernst Chain [Nobel Prize for Physiology & Medicine, 1945]: Penicillin and Beyond," Weidenfeld & Nicolson: London, 1985, pp.146-148). 16/05/00 "When adaptation is considered to be the result of natural selection under the pressure of the struggle for existence, it is seen to be a relative condition rather than an absolute one. Even though a species may be surviving and numerous, and therefore may be adapted in an absolute sense, a new form may arise that has a greater reproductive rate on the same resources, and it may cause the extinction of the older form. The concept of relative adaptation removes the apparent tautology in the theory of natural selection. Without it the theory of natural selection states that fitter individuals have more offspring and then defines the fitter as being those that leave more offspring; since some individuals will always have more offspring than others by sheer chance, nothing is explained. An analysis in which problems of design are posed and characters are understood as being design solutions breaks through this tautology by predicting in advance which individuals will be fitter." (Lewontin, R.C., "Adaptation," Scientific American, Vol. 239, No. 3, September 1978, pp.157-169, p.166) 16/05/00 "More specifically, the struggle for existence provides a device for predicting which of two organisms will leave more offspring. An engineering analysis can determine which of two forms of zebra can run faster and so can more easily escape predators; that form will leave more offspring. An analysis might predict the eventual evolution of zebra locomotion even in the absence of existing differences among individuals. since a careful engineer might think of small improvements in design that would give a zebra greater speed. ... An analysis in which problems of design are posed and characters are understood as being design solutions breaks through this tautology by predicting in advance which individuals will be fitter." (Lewontin, R.C., "Adaptation," Scientific American, Vol. 239, No. 3, September 1978, pp.157-169, p.166) 16/05/00 "The relation between adaptation and natural selection does not go both ways. Whereas greater relative adaptation leads to natural selection, natural selection does not necessarily lead to greater adaptation. ... . Hence there is no way we can predict whether a change due to natural selection will increase or decrease the adaptation in general." (Lewontin, R.C., "Adaptation," Scientific American, Vol. 239, No. 3, September 1978, pp.157-169, pp.166-167) 16/05/00 "Unfortunately the concept of relative adaptation also requires the ceteris paribus assumption, so that in practice it is not easy to predict which of two forms will leave more offspring. A zebra having longer leg bones that enable it to run faster than other zebras will leave more offspring only if escape from predators is really the problem to be solved, if a slightly greater speed will really decrease the chance of being taken and if longer leg bones do not interfere with some other limiting physiological process. Lions may prey chiefly on old or injured zebras likely in any case to die soon, and it is not even clear that it is speed that limits the ability of lions to catch zebras. Greater speed may cost the zebra something in feeding efficiency, and if food rather than predation is limiting, a net selective disadvantage might result from solving the wrong problem. Finally, a longer bone might break more easily, or require greater developmental resources and metabolic energy to produce and maintain, or change the efficiency of the contraction of the attached muscles. In practice relative- adaptation analysis is a tricky game unless a great deal is known about the total life history of an organism." (Lewontin, R.C., "Adaptation," Scientific American, Vol. 239, No. 3, September 1978, pp.157-169, p.167) 17/05/00 "The rapid development as far as we can judge of all the higher plants within recent geological times is an abominable mystery." (Darwin, C.R., Letter to J.D. Hooker, July 22nd 1879, in Darwin, F. & Seward, A.C., eds., "More Letters of Charles Darwin: A Record of His Work in a Series of Hitherto Unpublished Papers," John Murray: London, 1903, Vol. II, pp.20- 21) 19/05/00 "FOR as long as he can remember Stuart Kauffman has held a deep conviction about nature: that natural selection cannot be the sole or even the most important source of order in the biological world. Almost three decades ago, Kauffman, then a young medical student at the University of California, San Francisco, set out to prove he was right and that the rest of the biological community was wrong. `What I found was profound,' says Kauffman. `I knew that then and I'm still convinced of it.' ... The mechanism of controls by feedback that Jacob and Monod found in these systems struck a chord in Kauffman's still unformulated thinking about order in biological systems, and led to the computer simulation experiments. `The results were so powerful, and seemed to confirm what I felt instinctively must be true, that I dismissed natural selection as being totally unimportant,' says Kauffman." (Lewin R., "Order For Free," New Scientist, 13 February 1993, Supplement, pp.10,11) 19/05/00 "The account of the origin of life that I shall give is necessarily speculative; by definition, nobody was around to see what happened. There are a number of rival theories, but they all have certain features in common." (Dawkins, R. "The Selfish Gene," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, New Edition, 1989, p.14) 20/05/00 "Given the newcomer's ability to grow over its rival and knock it out, a simple reading of Darwin would predict a speedy victory for the newcomer. But in recent years, some prominent paleontologists have questioned whether such competition among animals has all that much to do with who wins and who loses in the evolutionary wars. High school biology lessons notwithstanding, it's been difficult to find hard evidence that interactions among animals matter, they noted, so externalities, such as the meteorite that did in the dinosaurs, might be more important." (Kerr R.A., "When Fittest Survive, Do Other Animals Matter?" Science, Vol. 288, 21 April 2000, p.414) 24/05/00 "It was not only Darwin among the natural scientists who failed to pass Chain's religious scrutiny. Another was Konrad Lorenz, of whom he spoke in a speech-day address to Jews' College in London in 1972. `It is easy to draw analogies between the behaviour of apes and man, and draw conclusions from the behaviour of birds and fishes on human ethical behaviour but all these analogies are superficial and have no general significance. Of course there are similarities between all living matter, but this fact does not allow the development of ethical guidelines for human behaviour. All attempts to do this, such as Lorenz' studies on aggression in animals suffer from the failure to take into account the all-important fact of man's capability to think and to be able to control his passions, and are therefore doomed to failure right from the beginning. It is the differences between animal and man, not the similarities, which concern us...the various speculations on cosmogony which are advanced from time to time, are nothing more than an amusing pastime for those proposing them.'" (Clark R.W., "The Life of Ernst Chain [Nobel Prize for Physiology & Medicine, 1945]: Penicillin and Beyond," Weidenfeld & Nicolson: London, 1985, p.148). 25/05/00 "Evolution is the creation-myth of our age. By telling us our origin it shapes our views of what we are. It influences not just our thought, but our feelings and actions too, in a way which goes far beyond its official function as a biological theory." (Midgley M., "The Religion of Evolution," in Durant J., ed., "Darwinism and Divinity: Essays on Evolution and Religious Belief," Basil Blackwell: Oxford UK, 1985, p.154) 26/05/00 "Despite a close watch, we have witnessed no new species emerge in the wild in recorded history. Also, most remarkably, we have seen no new animal species emerge in domestic breeding. That includes no new species of fruitflies in hundreds of millions of generations in fruitfly studies, where both soft and harsh pressures have been deliberately applied to the fly populations to induce speciation. And in computer life, where the term "species" does not yet have meaning, we see no cascading emergence of entirely new kinds of variety beyond an initial burst. In the wild, in breeding, and in artificial life, we see the emergence of variation. But by the absence of greater change, we also clearly see that the limits of variation appear to be narrowly bounded, and often bounded within species." (Kelly K., "Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines," , Fourth Estate: London, 1995, reprint, p.475) 27/05/00 "No one has yet witnessed, in the fossil record, in real life, or in computer life, the exact transitional moments when natural selection pumps its complexity up to the next level. There is a suspicious barrier in the vicinity of species that either holds back this critical change or removes it from our sight." (Kelly K., "Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines," , Fourth Estate: London, 1995, reprint, p.475) 29/05/00 "The development of the metabolic system, which, as the primordial soup thinned, must have "learned" to mobilize chemical potential and to synthesize the cellular components, poses Herculean problems. So also does the emergence of the selectively permeable membrane without which there can be no viable cell. But the major problem is the origin of the genetic code and of its translation mechanism. Indeed, instead of a problem it ought rather to be called a riddle. The code is meaningless unless translated. The modern cell's translating machinery consists of at least fifty macromolecular components which are themselves coded in DNA: the code cannot be translated otherwise than by products of translation. It is the modern expression of omne vivum ex ovo. When and how did this circle become closed? It is exceedingly difficult to imagine." (Monod, J., "Chance and Necessity: An Essay on the Natural Philosophy of Modern Biology," , Transl. Wainhouse A., Penguin Books: London, 1997, reprint, p.143. Emphasis in original) 31/05/00 "Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door." (Lewontin, R.C., "Billions and Billions of Demons." Review of "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark," by Carl Sagan. The New York Times Review of Books, January 9, 1997, pp.28-32, p.31. Emphasis original) June [top] 1/06/00 "One of the ironies of the history of biology is that Darwin did not really explain the origin of new species in The Origin of Species, because he didn't know how to define species. The Origin was in fact concerned mostly with how a single species might change in time, not how one species might proliferate into many." (Futuyma D.J., "Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution," Pantheon: New York NY, 1982, p.152) 4/06/00 "Considering the very close genetic relationship that has been established by comparison of biochemical properties of blood proteins, protein structure and DNA and immunological responses, the differences between a man and a chimpanzee are more astonishing than the resemblances. They include structural differences in the skeleton, the muscles, the skin, and the brain; differences in posture associated with a unique method of locomotion; differences in social organization; and finally the acquisition of speech and tool-using, together with the dramatic increase in intellectual ability which has led scientists to name their own species Homo sapiens sapiens - wise wise man. During the period when these remarkable evolutionary changes were taking place, other closely related ape-like species changed only very slowly, and with far less remarkable results. It is hard to resist the conclusion that something must have happened to the ancestors of Homo sapiens which did not happen to the ancestors of gorillas and chimpanzees." (Morgan E., "The Aquatic Ape: A Theory of Human Evolution," , Souvenir Press: London, 1989, reprint, pp.17- 18) 6/06/00 "The problem faced by the evolutionary paleontologist is not unlike that of the stock market analyst. Both the stock market record and the fossil record are complex Markovian time series wherein causal interpretations after the fact are often possible but the predictive value of theory is weak to nonexistent. In fact, the technical market analyst probably has a better record than the paleontologist. This does not disqualify evolutionary theory; it simply illustrates the difficulty of applying any statistical theory to actual cases." (Raup, D.M., "Evolution and the Fossil Record," Science, Vol. 213, 17 July 1981, p.289). 7/06/00 "We conclude-unexpectedly-that there is little evidence for the neo- Darwinian view: its theoretical foundations and the experimental evidence supporting it are weak, and there is no doubt that mutations of large effect are sometimes important in adaptation." (Orr, H.A., & Coyne, J.A., "The Genetics of Adaptation: A Reassessment," American Naturalist, Vol. 140, No. 5, November 1992, p..725-742, p.726) 8/06/00 "Some contemporary biologists, as soon as they observe a mutation, talk about evolution. They are implicitly supporting the following syllogism: mutations are the only evolutionary variations, all living beings undergo mutations, therefore all living beings evolve. This logical scheme is, however, unacceptable: first, because its major premise is neither obvious nor general; second, because its conclusion does not agree with the facts. No matter how numerous they may be, mutations do not produce any kind of evolution." (Grassé, P.-P., "Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation," , Academic Press: New York NY, 1977, p.88) 8/06/00 "Panchronic species [i.e. `living fossils'], which like other species are subject to the assaults of mutations remain unchanged. Their variants are eliminated except possibly for neutral mutants. In any event, their stability is an observed fact and not a theoretical concept. ... What is the use of their unceasing mutations, if they do not change? In sum, the mutations of bacteria and viruses are merely hereditary fluctuations around a median position; a swing to the right, a swing to the left, but no final evolutionary effect. ... It is important to note that relict species mutate as much as others do, but do not evolve, not even when they live in conditions favorable to change (diversity of environments, cosmopolitianism, large populations)." (Grassé, P.-P., "Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation," , Academic Press: New York NY, 1977, p.87) 9/06/00 "Bacteria, the study of which has formed a great part of the foundation of genetics and molecular biology, are the organisms which, because of their huge numbers, produce the most mutants. This is why they gave rise to an infinite variety of species, called strains, which can be revealed by breeding or tests. Like Erophila verna, bacteria, , despite their great production of intraspecific varieties, exhibit a great fidelity to their species. The bacillus Escherichia coli, whose mutants have been studied very carefully, is the best example. The reader will agree that it is surprising, to say the least, to want to prove evolution and to discover its mechanisms and then to choose as a material for this study a being which practically stabilized a billion years ago!" (Grassé, P.-P., "Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation," , Academic Press: New York NY, 1977, p.87) 10/06/00 "The first assumption was that non-living things gave rise to living material. This is still just an assumption. It is conceivable that living material might have suddenly appeared on this world in some peculiar manner, say from another planet, but this then raises the question, "Where did life originate on that planet?" We could say that life has always existed, but such an explanation is not a very satisfactory one. Instead, the explanation that nonliving things could have given rise to complex systems having the properties of living things is generally more acceptable to most scientists. There is, however, little evidence in favour of biogenesis and as yet we have no indication that it can be performed. There are many schemes by which biogenesis could have occurred but these are still suggestive schemes and nothing more. They may indicate experiments that can be performed, but they tell us nothing about what actually happened some 1,000 million years ago. It is therefore a matter of faith on the part of the biologist that biogenesis did occur and he can choose whatever method of biogenesis happens to suit him personally; the evidence for what did happen is not available." (Kerkut, G.A., "Implications of Evolution," in Kerkut, G.A., ed. "International Series of Monographs on Pure and Applied Biology, Division: Zoology," Volume 4, Pergamon Press: New York NY, 1960, p.150) 13/06/00 "Prebiotic soup is easy to obtain. We must next explain how a prebiotic soup of organic molecules, including amino acids and the organic, constituents of nucleotides evolved into a self-replicating organism. While some suggestive evidence has been obtained, I must admit that attempts to reconstruct the evolutionary process are extremely tentative." (Orgel L.E., "Darwinism at the very beginning of life," New Scientist, Vol. 94, 15 April 1982, pp.149-151, p.150) 13/06/00 "In any case, if we repudiate creationism, divine or vitalistic guidance, and the extremer forms of orthogenesis, as originators of adaptation, we must (unless we confess total ignorance and abandon for the time any attempts at explanation) invoke natural selection-or at any rate must do so whenever an adaptive structure obviously involves a number of separate characters, and therefore demands a number of separate steps for its origin. A one-character, single-step adaptation might clearly be the result of mutation; once the mutation had taken place, it would be preserved by natural selection, but selection would have played no part in its origin. But when two or more steps are necessary, it becomes inconceivable that they shall have originated simultaneously. The first mutation must have been spread through the population-by selection before the second could be combined with it, the combination of the first two in turn selected before the third could be added, and so on with each successive step. The improbability of an origin in which selection has not played a part becomes larger with each new step." (Huxley, J.S., "Evolution: The Modern Synthesis," , George Allen & Unwin: London, Fourth Impression, 1945, p..473-474) 13/06/00 "I have quoted some voices of dissent coming from biologists in eminent academic positions. There have been many others, just as critical of the orthodox doctrine, though not always as outspoken - and their number is steadily growing. Although these criticisms have made numerous breaches in the walls, the citadel still stands - mainly, as said before, because nobody has a satisfactory alternative to offer. The history of science shows that a well-established theory can take a lot of battering and get itself into a tangle of contradictions - the fourth phase of 'Crisis and Doubt' in the historic cycle and yet still be upheld by the establishment until a breakthrough occurs, initiating a new departure, and the start of a new cycle. But that event is not yet in sight. In the meantime, the educated public continues to believe that Darwin has provided all the relevant answers by the magic formula of random mutation plus natural selection - quite unaware of the fact that random mutations turned out to be irrelevant and natural selection a tautology." (Koestler, A., "Janus: A Summing Up," Picador: London, 1983, pp.184-185) 16/06/00 "But as this conviction grew, something else grew as well. Even now it is difficult to express this "something" in words. It was an intense revulsion, and at times it was almost physical in nature. I would positively squirm with discomfort. The very thought that the fitness of the cosmos for life might be a mystery requiring solution struck me as ludicrous, absurd. I found it difficult to entertain the notion without grimacing in disgust, and well-nigh impossible to mention it to friends without apology. To admit to fellow scientists that I was interested in the problem felt like admitting to some shameful personal inadequacy. Nor has this reaction faded over the years: I have had to struggle against it incessantly during the writing of this book. I am sure that the same reaction is at work within every other scientist, and that it is this which accounts for the widespread indifference accorded the idea at present. And more than that: I now believe that what appears as indifference in fact masks an intense antagonism. It was not for some time that I was able to place my finger on the source of my discomfort. It arises, I understand now, because the contention that we owe our existence to a stupendous series of coincidences strikes a responsive chord. That contention is far too close for comfort to notions such as: We are the center of the universe. God loves mankind more than all other creatures. The cosmos is watching over us. The universe has a plan; we are essential to that plan." (Greenstein, G., "The Symbiotic Universe: Life and Mind in the Cosmos," William Morrow & Co: New York NY, 1988, pp.25-26. Emphasis original) 21/06/00 "Darwinian evolution, by natural selection, predicts that organisms are as they are because all their genes have been and are being subjected to selection, those that reduce the organism's success being eliminated, and those that enhance it being favoured. This is a scientific theory, for these predictions can be tested. 'Non-Darwinian' or random evolution predicts that some features of organisms are non-adaptive, having neutral or slightly negative survival value, and that the genes controlling such features are fluctuating randomly in the population, or have been fixed because at some time in the past the population went through a bottleneck, when it was greatly reduced. When these two theories are combined, as a general explanation of evolutionary change, that general theory is no longer testable. Take natural selection: no matter how many cases fail to yield to a natural selection analysis, the theory is not threatened, for it can always be said that these failures of selection theory are explained by genetic drift. And no matter how many supposed examples of genetic drift are shown to be due, after all, to natural selection, the neutral theory is not threatened, for it never pretended to explain all evolution." (Patterson, C., "Evolution," British Museum of Natural History: London, 1978, p.70) 21/06/00 "Speciation is an historical process and therefore hypotheses of speciation cannot be falsified by scientific experimentation. It is impossible to repeat a speciation event under controlled conditions except for some unusual modes of speciation not infrequently found in plants but very rarely in animals. Thus, indirect evidence from the fossil record, from comparative studies of morphology and development, DNA and proteins, from cytogenetics and from biogeography are used to test ideas and theories about speciation." (Knox, B., Ladiges, P. & Evans, B., eds., "Biology," , McGraw-Hill: Sydney NSW, Australia, 1995, reprint, p.707) 21/06/00 "Second, people had long sought the causes of phenomena in purposes: the will of God, or Aristotelian final causes (the purposes for which events occur) rather than efficient causes (the mechanisms that cause events to occur). But Darwin showed that material causes are a sufficient explanation not only for physical phenomena, as Descartes and Newton had shown, but also for biological phenomena with all their seeming evidence of design and purpose." (Futuyma, D.J., "Evolutionary Biology," , Sinauer Associates: Sunderland MA, Second edition, 1986, p.2) 21/06/00 "By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous. Together with Marx's materialistic theory of history and society and Freud's attribution of human behavior to influences over which we have little control, Darwin's theory of evolution was a crucial plank in the platform of mechanism and materialism-of much of science, in short-that has since been the stage of most Western thought." (Futuyma, D.J., "Evolutionary Biology," , Sinauer Associates: Sunderland MA, Second edition, 1986, p.2) 22/06/00 "A parking lot is filled with cars, all in rapid, frantic motion. Their drivers are acting without the slightest regard for safety, turning the steering wheels this way and that, stepping on the gas and slamming on the brakes, and all completely at random. Not only that, but every last one of them is blindfolded. There are going to be some dented fenders soon. That is the danger facing us. The peaceful scene about me is subject to the most deadly danger. How long do we have? But hold on a moment! Don't concentrate on the future. Concentrate on the past, on all the thousands, even millions of years of history that have led up to this moment. The longer one waits, the greater the chance of collision, and if one had occurred at any point in the past nothing of what I see would have come into being. Had the Sun collided with a passing star in the epoch of the ancient Sumerians, none of us would have been born. The same would be true had the cataclysm occurred in the time of the dinosaurs. Our existence depends not simply on the avoidance of disaster this year or next, but throughout all of previous history." (Greenstein, G., "The Symbiotic Universe: Life and Mind in the Cosmos," William Morrow & Co: New York NY, 1988, pp.17-18) 24/06/00 "A natural and fundamental question to ask, on learning of these incredibly intricately interlocking pieces of software and hardware is: "How did they ever get started in the first place?" It is truly a baffling thing. One has to imagine some sort of a bootstrap process occurring, somewhat like that which is used in the development of new computer languages-but a bootstrap from simple molecules to entire cells is almost beyond one's power to imagine. There are various theories on the origin of life. They all run aground on this most central of all central questions: "How did the Genetic Code, along with the mechanisms for its translation (ribosomes and tRNA molecules), originate?" For the moment, we will have to content ourselves with a sense of wonder and awe, rather than with an answer." (Hofstadter, D.R., "Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid," , Vintage: New York NY, 1980, reprint, p.548) 24/06/00 "Eldredge and Gould certainly would agree that some very important gaps really are due to imperfections in the fossil record. Very big gaps, too. For example the Cambrian strata of rocks, vintage about 600 million years, are the oldest ones in which we find most of the major invertebrate groups. And we find many of them already in an advanced state of evolution, the very first time they appear. It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say, this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists." (Dawkins, R. "The Blind Watchmaker," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, p.229). 25/06/00 "The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that all energy systems run down like a clock and never rewind themselves. But life not only 'runs up,' converting low energy sea-water, sunlight and air into high-energy chemicals, it keeps multiplying itself into more and better clocks that keep 'running up' faster and faster. Why, for example, should a group of simple, stable compounds of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen struggle for billions of years to organize themselves into a professor of chemistry? What's the motive? If we leave a chemistry professor out on a rock in the sun long enough the forces of nature will convert him into simple compounds of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, and small amounts of other minerals. It's a one-way reaction. No matter what kind of chemistry professor we use and no matter what process we use we can't turn these compounds back into a chemistry professor. Chemistry professors are unstable mixtures of predominantly unstable compounds which, in the exclusive presence of the sun's heat, decay irreversibly into simpler organic and inorganic compounds. That's a scientific fact. The question is: Then why does nature reverse this process? What on earth causes the inorganic compounds to go the other way? It isn't the sun's energy. We just saw what the sun's energy did. It has to be something else. What is it?" (Pirsig, Robert M., "Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals," Bantam: London, 1991, pp.144-145) 26/06/00 "The opportune appearance of mutations permitting animals and plants to meet their needs seems hard to believe. Yet the Darwinian theory is even more demanding: A single plant, a single animal would require thousands and thousands of lucky, appropriate events. Thus, miracles would become the rule: events with an infinitesimal probability could not fail to occur. Much as in The Swiss Family Robinson, which I used to read in my childhood, rescue would always occur at the right moment, and this would have had to have happened throughout the ages. One could admit that one bacterium out of billions and billions can be the `lucky preadapted' one, but the number of reptiles evolving into mammals or of primates evolving into men, did not exceed a few tens of thousands and often fewer; the chances of the appearance of `useful' mutations therefore decrease in the same ratio and become almost nonexistent." (Grassé, P.-P., "Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation," , Academic Press: New York NY, 1977, p.103) 27/06/00 "It may be quite true that some negroes are better than some white men; but no rational man, cognisant of the facts, believes that the average negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the average white man. And, if this be true, it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed, and our prognathous relative has a fair field and no favour, as well as no oppressor, he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried on by thoughts and not by bites. The highest places in the hierarchy of civilisation will assuredly not be within the reach of our dusky cousins, though it is by no means necessary that they should be restricted to the lowest." (Huxley, T.H., "Emancipation-Black and White," in "Lectures and Lay Sermons," , Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Co: London, Reprinted, 1926, p.115) 27/06/00 "... it is said that there is no place for an argument from authority from science. The community of science is constantly self-critical ... It is certainly true that within each narrowly defined scientific field there is constant challenge to new technical claims and to old wisdom. ... But when scientists transgress the bounds of their own specialty they have no choice but to accept the claims of authority, even though they do not know how solid the grounds of those claims may be. Who am I to believe about quantum physics if not Steven Weinberg, or about the solar system if not Carl Sagan? What worries me is that they may believe what Dawkins and Wilson tell them about evolution." (Lewontin, R.C., "Billions and Billions of Demons." Review of "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark," by Carl Sagan. The New York Review of Books, January 9, 1997, pp.28-32, p..30-31) 29/06/00 "Animals are clearly not machines, but neither are they slightly diminished human beings. Intellectual understanding is not found in any degree in any animal but man. The human capacity to understand the what and the why of things is unique in the animal kingdom. With respect to this faculty, man is different in kind from animals, not in degree. The difference between apes and other animals is one of degree, since they possess the same kinds of powers to a greater or less extent. But a greater gap separates man from ape than that which separates any two other natural creatures." (Augros, R.* & Stanciu, G.*, "The New Biology: Discovering the Wisdom in Nature," New Science Library, Shambhala: Boston, MA, 1987, p.82. Emphasis original) 29/06/00 "Bypassing the recent wave of Creationism in the US and its criticism of Darwin's theory, a number of objections can be made against the notion of natural selection, some of which I will mention here. Such intricate changes have arisen in nature, involving such immensely complex series of mutations that mathematicians find it almost impossible to attribute these to blind chance. Rattray Taylor mentions several instances of features which evolved long before they were of any advantage so that they hardly can have been caused by natural selection. Even Darwin himself was occasionally seized by doubt while contemplating organs of extreme perfection. 'The eye gives me a cold shudder,' he wrote." (Noske, B., "Humans and Other Animals: Beyond the Boundaries of Anthropology," Pluto Press: London, 1989, p.65)
* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed not to be evolutionists. However, lack of
an asterisk does not necessarily mean that an author is an evolutionist.
Copyright © 2000-2010, by Stephen E. Jones. All rights reserved. These my quotes may be used for non-commercial purposes only and may not be used in a
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Created: 1 January, 2000. Updated: 6 May, 2010.