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The following are unclassified quotes posted by me to creation/evolution discussion groups
in January - June 2001. The date format is dd/mm/yy. See copyright conditions at end.
[Index: January, February, March, April, May , June ] [July-December]
January 4/01/2001 "Biological systems, like machines, have, therefore, functions and forms inexplicable by chemical and physical laws. The argument that the DNA molecule determines genetic processes in living systems does not indicate reducibility. A DNA molecule essentiality transmits information to a developing cell. Similarly, a book transmits information. But the transmission of the information cannot be represented in terms of chemical and physical principles. In other words, the operation of the book is not reducible to chemical terms. Since DNA operates by transmission of (genetic) information, its function cannot be described by chemical laws either. The life process is essentially the development of a fertilized cell, as the result of information imparted by DNA. Transmission of this information is nonchemical and nonphysical, and is the controlling factor in the life process. The description of a living system therefore transcends the chemical and physical laws which govern its constituents." (Polanyi, M., "Life Transcending Physics and Chemistry," Chemical & Engineering News, Vol. 45, No. 35, August 21, 1967, pp.54-66, p.56). 5/01/2001 "`Organized' systems are to be carefully distinguished from `ordered' systems. Neither kind of system is `random'; but whereas ordered systems are generated according to simple algorithms and therefore lack complexity, organized systems must be assembled element by element according to an external`wiring diagram' with a high information content." (Wicken, J.S., "The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion," Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 77, April 1979, pp.349-365, p.353) 5/01/2001 "Because in our universal experience unintelligent material processes do not create life, Christian theists know that Romans 1:20 is also true: "Ever since the creation of the world [God's] eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made." In other words, there is absolutely no mystery about why living organisms appear to be the products of intelligent creation, and why scientific naturalists have to work so hard to keep themselves from perceiving the obvious. The reason living things give that appearance is that they actually are what they appear to be, and this fact is evident to all who do not cloud their minds with naturalistic philosophy or some comparable drug. The rest of that passage (Romans 1:20-23) is also true: So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembr birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. What these words plainly mean is that those who turn away from God and toward naturalistic philosophy give up their minds in the process and end up endorsing sophisticated nonsense and nature worship." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law and Education," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL., 1995, p.108) 6/01/2001 "In the midst of his outpouring of anger at and dismissal of Goldschmidt, Dobzhansky neglected to consider the fact that while Goldschmidt's systemic mutations may not have been observed, neither had the mechanisms of speciation that he, or anyone else, for the matter, had proposed. Rather, Dobzhansky, as others did and would do, took for granted that, with enough time, the kinds of small mutations and changes that were observed in laboratory experiments on fruit-fly population genetics were also capable of producing the degrees of differences that seem to characterize species in the wild. To be sure, there was a certain logic in the belief that it was unnecessary to postulate another mechanism for evolutionary change when one already appeared to exist. This logic also seemed to benefit from the assertion that not only had no other mechanism been observed but that no other mechanism had yet produced species. Nevertheless, it was and still is the case that, with the exception of Dobzhansky's claim about a new species of fruit fly, the formation of a new species, by any mechanism, has never been observed." (Schwartz, J.H., "Sudden Origins: Fossils, Genes, and the Emergence of Species," John Wiley & Sons: New York NY, 1999, pp.299-300) 11/01/2001 "In language oddly reminiscent of Buffon's contrast between the works of man and the works of nature, Darwin asked his imaginary reader to suppose the existence of: `a Being with penetration sufficient to perceive differences in the outer and innermost organization quite imperceptible to man, and with forethought extending over future centuries to watch with unerring care and select for any object the offspring of an organism produced under the foregoing circumstances, I can see no conceivable reason why he could not form a new race (or several were he to separate the stock of the original organism and work on several islands) adapted to new ends. As we assume his discrimination, and his forethought, and his steadiness of object, to be incomparably greater than those qualities in man, so we may suppose the beauty and complications of the adaptations of the new races and their differences from the original stock to be greater than in the domestic races produced by man's agency.... With time enough, such a Being might rationally (without some unknown law opposed him) aim at almost any result....Seeing what blind capricious man has actually effected by selection during the few last years, and what in a ruder state he has probably effected without any systematic plan during the last few thousand years, he will be a bold person who will positively put limits to what the supposed Being could effect during whole geological periods' (Darwin, F., ed. "The Foundations of the Origin of Species, Two Essays Written in 1842 and 1844, by Charles Darwin," Cambridge UK, 1909, pp.85-87). A striking conception. this idea of a Master Breeder infinitely wise and patient, with infinite time at his disposal, who, carefully selecting from among the variations in nature those which suited his purposes, molded organic nature to his own wise ends. Such a Being could be little less than God Himself." (Greene, J.C., "The Death of Adam: Evolution and its Impact on Western Thought," , Mentor: New York NY, 1961, reprint, pp.261-262. Ellipses Greene's). 15/01/2001 "Granted that Nature's laws are in fact life-permitting Darwinian accounts give (although usually only in very compressed form) the causal story of Life's evolution for which section 1.8 called. Still, not just any universe would be one in which Darwinian evolution would work. If a tiny reduction in the early cosmic expansion speed would have made everything recollapse within a fraction of a second while a tiny increase would quickly have yielded a universe far too dilute for stars to form, then such changes would (presumably) have been disastrous to Evolution's prospects." (Leslie, J., "Universes," , Routledge: London, 1996, reprint, p.108) 16/01/2001 "Professor Eiseley presents a detailed argument designed to show that Darwin probably derived the idea of natural selection from two articles written by his acquaintance Edward Blyth and published in The Magazine of Natural History in 1835 and 1837. If these articles were in fact the source of Darwin's theory, Darwin was guilty of grave intellectual dishonesty. In the present writer's opinion, Professor Eiseley fails to establish his case beyond reasonable doubt, although the evidence he presents is sufficiently disturbing to merit further investigation aimed at establishing or disproving his thesis." (Greene, J.C., "The Death of Adam: Evolution and its Impact on Western Thought," , Mentor: New York NY, 1961, reprint, p.366) 15/01/2001 "A deep problem--philosophical rather than factual--stymies all our attempts to define the nature of life. Scientific generalizations require replication, the demonstration that a given set of forces and substances will yield the same result when brought together under the same conditions. Ideally, we test for replication with time-honored procedures that scientists call controlled experiments--artificially simplified situations manipulated by human observers to guarantee (within the best of our ability) an exact repetition of all timings, forces and substances. If we achieve the same result in each of several replications, we then gain confidence that we may be witnessing a predictable generality based upon a law of nature. This search for replicates underlies the efforts--and partial successes--of scientists to synthesize living matter from the presumed chemical constituents in the "primordial soup" of the earth's original oceans. Can we create some rudimentary forms of life by exposing these constituents to known sources of energy (lightning from electrical storms, heat from oceanic vents, for example) under the presumed conditions of the earth's early atmosphere and surface? In this context of accepted scientific procedures, single occurrences present a knotty problem. Their "truth" cannot be denied, but how can we use their existence to assert any generality rather than an explanation for a singular circumstance? For specific events of history--the rise, domination and extinction of dinosaurs, for example--we seek no such generality, and specific narrations for bounded events supply the explanations we seek. Thus a particular asteroid, striking the earth 65 million years ago and leaving evidence of its impact off the Yucatan Peninsula, probably triggered a global extinction that sealed the fate of dinosaurs and many other creatures. In developing such evidence, we have explained a unique historical event, but we have not discovered a general law of nature." (Gould, S.J., "Will We Figure Out How Life Began? ," Time Magazine, April 9, 2000. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,42365,00.html) 16/01/2001 "The primary problem with the 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 .... 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, pp495-498, December 1999, p.495) 17/01/2001 "I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently I assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. Most ignorance is vincible ignorance. We don't know because we don't want to know. It is our will that decides how and upon what subjects we shall use our intelligence. Those who detect no meaning in the world generally do so because, for one reason or another, it suits their books that the world should be meaningless. ... For myself, as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom; we objected to the political and economic system because it was unjust. The supporters of these systems claimed that in some way they embodied the meaning (a Christian meaning, they insisted) of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and at the same time justifying ourselves in our political and erotic revolt: we could deny that the world had any meaning whatsoever." (Huxley, A.L., "Ends and Means," , Chatto & Windus: London, 1938, Third impression, pp.270,273) 18/01/2001 "Once RNA is synthesized, it can make new copies of itself only with a great deal of help from the scientist, says Joyce of the Scripps Clinic, an RNA specialist. `It is an inept molecule,' he explains, `especially when compared with proteins.' Leslie E. Orgel of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, who has probably done more research exploring the RNA-world scenario than any other scientist, concurs with Joyce. Experiments simulating the early stages of the RNA world are too complicated to represent plausible scenarios for the origin of life, Orgel says. `You have to get an awful lot of things right and nothing wrong,' he adds." (Horgan J., "In The Beginning...," Scientific American, February 1991, p.103. Ellipses in original) 19/01/2001 "Removing the moon seems harmless enough at first. Of course, Solon [Earth without the moon] would differ from the earth. The tides would be lower without the moon, and it would lack eclipses and romantic, moonlit nights, but in the global scheme of things these changes seem trivial. As we dig deeper, we discover that lower tides, higher winds, and shorter days would greatly affect Solon's geography, its ability to evolve life, and the quality of the life animals would have there. As the differences between Earth and Solon become more evident, it becomes clear that Solon would be a much less hospitable place in which to live. There is much more that could be said about Solon, but this chapter raises a broader question that cries out for consideration. That is, just how ideal a planet did we inherit compared with the one we might have gotten? Are we living on the best of all possible worlds?" (Comins N.F., "What If the Moon Didn't Exist?: Voyages to Earths That Might Have Been," HarperCollins: New York NY, 1993, p.48) 19/01/2001 "Indeed, the earliest insects are rather like Pallas-Athene who sprang fully formed from the head of her father Zeus they arrive on the scene with no evidence of antecedents. ... Nor are there any clues as to how and when the first winged insects came on the scene. ... Having said all that, it must again be emphasised that insect ancestry is extremely conjectural, since the evidence for it is either very fragmentary or non- existent. It is not impossible that there was no such thing as a common arthropod ancestor at all." (Wootton A., "Insects of the World," , Facts on File Publications: New York NY, 1986, reprint, pp.18-19) 21/01/2001 "Beyond the Earth's atmosphere, on the other side of the sky, is a universe teeming with radio emission. By studying radio waves you can learn about planets and stars and galaxies, about the composition of great clouds of organic molecules that drift between the stars, about the origin and evolution and fate of the universe. But all these radio emissions are natural-caused by physical processes ... In the scant few decades in which humans have pursued radio astronomy, there has never been a real signal from the depths of space, something manufactured, something special something contrived by an alien mind." Sagan, C.E., "Contact," Pocket Books: New York NY, 1985, Reprinted, 1986, p.41) 21/01/2001 "Imagine that you are walking along a creek on a lazy summer afternoon, idly kicking at the pebbles along the bank. Occasionally you reach down to pick up a pebble that has an unusual shape. One pebble reminds you of a cowboy boot. As you roll the pebble around in your hand, you notice that the softer parts of the rock are more worn away than the harder parts, and that lines of wear follow lines of weakness in the rock. Despite some appearance of design, the boot shape of the tumbled pebble is clearly the result of time, chance, and the processes of weathering and erosion. But then your eye spots an arrowhead lying among the pebbles. Immediately it stands out as different. In the arrowhead, chip marks cut through the hard and soft parts of the rock equally, and the chip line goes both with and across lines of weakness in the rock. In the arrowhead, we see matter shaped and molded according to a design that gives the rocky material a purpose. You have just done what many people dismiss as impossible. In comparing the pebble and arrowhead, you were easily able to recognize evidence of creation. I am speaking here only of human creation, of course. The arrowhead might have been carved by one of my ancestors (a Cherokee), for example. But the same approach can be used even when we don't know who or what the creative agent might have been. ... Using your knowledge of erosional processes and your observations of hard and soft rock, you were able to distinguish a result of time and chance (the tumbled pebble) from an object created with plan and purpose (the arrowhead). If we had found such objects as arrowheads on Mars, all scientists would have recognized them immediately as the products of creation, even though in that case we would have no idea who made them or how. Carl Sagan, the evolutionist of Cosmos television fame, wants the government to listen for signals from outer space, because he knows full well that we can tell the difference between wave patterns produced by time and chance from those sent with design and purpose. Note: You don't have to see the creator, and you don't have to see the creative act, to recognize evidence of creation. Even when we don't know who or what the creative agent is, then, there are cases where "creation" is simply the most logical inference from our scientific observations." (Parker G.E.*, "Evidence of Creation in Living Systems," in Morris H.M.* & Parker G.E.*, "What is Creation Science?," , Master Books: El Cajon CA, Revised, 1987, pp.33-34) 22/01/2001 "Water is actually one of the strangest substances known to science. This may seem a rather odd thing to say about a substance as familiar but it is surely true. Its specific heat, its surface tension, and most of its other physical properties have values anomalously higher or lower than those of any other known material. The fact that its solid phase is less dense than its liquid phase (ice floats) is virtually a unique property. These aspects or the chemical and physical structure of water have been noted before, for instance by the authors of the Bridgewater Treatises in the 1830's and by Henderson in 1913, who also pointed out that these strange properties make water a uniquely useful liquid and the basis for living things." (Barrow J.D. & Tipler F.J., "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1996, reprint, p.524) 22/01/2001 "...the theory of progressive creationism is that interpretation of life which the author advocates and which he thinks is a more comprehensive theory than the theory of evolution. Progressive creationism endeavours to explain much that the theory of evolution tries to explain, and many of the things that the theory of evolution leaves unexplained. Gen. 1 records the broad outline of the successive creative acts of God in bringing the universe through the various stages from chaos to man. Being a very general sketch it leaves considerable room for the empirical determination of various facts. A multitude of biological facts now generally accepted by the biologists would remain unchanged. In progressive creationism there may be much horizontal radiation. The amount is to be determined by the geological record and biological experimentation. But there is no vertical radiation. Vertical radiation is only by fiat creation. A root-species may give rise to several species by horizontal radiation, through the process of the unraveling of gene potentialities or recombination. Horizontal radiation could account for much which now passes as evidence for the theory of evolution. The gaps in the geological record are gaps because vertical progress takes place only by creation." (Ramm, B.L.*, "The Christian View of Science and Scripture," , Paternoster: London, Reprinted, 1960, p.191. Emphasis original) 23/01/2001 "Two strongly held views about the origin of our planet and its life are in severe disagreement. Biblical Creationists accept on faith the literal Old Testament account of creation. Their beliefs include (1) a young earth, perhaps less than 10,000 years old; (2) catastrophes, especially a worldwide flood, as the origin of the earth's present form, including mountains, canyons, oceans, and continents; and (3) miraculous creation of all living things, including humans, in essentially their modern forms. ... The scientific theory of evolution has been developed and modified, challenged and tested, over centuries of geological and biological observations. The theory of evolution leads to specific predictions regarding location of fossils, age of rock formations, and genetic similarities of different species. Evolution is testable and, like any scientific theory, subject to change based on new data." (Hazen R.M. & Trefil J., "Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy," , Anchor Books: New York NY, 1992, reprint, pp.243-244). 25/01/2001 "Thus, a century ago, Darwinism against Christian orthodoxy. To-day the tables are turned. The modified, but still characteristically Darwinian theory has itself become an orthodoxy, preached by its adherents with religious fervour, and doubted, they feel, only by a few muddlers imperfect in scientific faith." (Grene M., "The Faith of Darwinism," Encounter, Vol. 74, November 1959, pp.48-56, p.49) 27/01/2001 "Reductionists believed that, given enough time, we should be able to understand the most complex human behaviour in terms of subatomic physics. Darwinism is implicitly a reductionist theory because it suggests that observations at many different levels of nature-from the mass extinction of creatures over millions of years to the submicroscopic event called mutation-may all be explained by reference to a single, unifying principle: natural selection. The events of the fossil record are seen as the result, on a large scale, of individual competition; and the changes in gene frequencies which are seen as the underlying basis of evolution are the result, on a small scale, of the same thing-individual competition and survival. The philosophers are not in a position to say that this is wrong, or that reductionism in general is mistaken, but there is a definite swing away from this all-embracing view of science. There is a growing feeling that perhaps we are actually missing something by this approach, that it is rather naive and simplistic." (Leith B., "The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinism," Collins: London, 1982, p.32) 28/01/2001 "One clear message should emerge from this discussion. A variety of results may be possible from the same general type of experiment. The experimenter, by manipulating apparently unimportant variables, can affect the outcome profoundly. The data that he reports may be valid, but if only these results are communicated, a false impression may arise concerning the universality of the process. This situation was noticed by a Creationist writer, Martin Lubenow, who commented: `I am convinced that in every origin of life experiment devised by evolutionists, the intelligence of the experimenter is involved in such a way as to prejudice the experiment.'" [Lubenow M.L., "From Fish To Gish: The Exciting Drama of a Decade of Creation-Evolution Debates," CLP Publishers: San Diego CA, 1983, pp.168-169]" (Shapiro, R., "Origins: A Skeptic's Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth," Summit Books: New York NY, 1986, p..103) 28/01/2001 "The phrase argumentum ad hominem translates literally as `argument directed to the man.' .... It is committed when, instead of trying to disprove what is asserted one attacks the person who made the assertion. .... This argument is fallacious, because the personal character of an individual is logically irrelevant to the truth or falsehood of what that individual says or the correctness or incorrectness of that individual's argument. ... The way in which this irrelevant argument may sometimes persuade is through the psychological process of transference. Where an attitude of disapproval toward a person can be evoked, it may possibly tend to overflow the strictly emotional field and become disagreement with what that person says. But this connection is only psychological, not logical. Even the most wicked of men may sometimes tell the truth or argue correctly."(Copi I.M., Introduction to Logic," , Macmillan Publishing Co: New York NY, Seventh Edition, 1986, p.92) 28/01/2001 "As you are reading these words, you are taking part in one of the wonders of the natural world. For you and I belong to a species with a remarkable ability: we can shape events in each other's brains with exquisite precision. I am not referring to telepathy or mind control or the other obsessions of fringe science; even in the depictions of believers these are blunt instruments compared to an ability that is uncontroversially present in every one of us. That ability is language. Simply by making noises with our Mouths, we can reliably cause precise new combinations of ideas to arise in each other's minds. The ability comes so naturally that we are apt to forget what a miracle it is." (Pinker S., "The Language Instinct: The New Science of Language and Mind," , Penguin: London, 2000, reprint, p.1) 30/01/2001 "Moreover, and with complete generality-the `"paradox of the visibly irrelevant" in my title we may say that any change measurable at all over the few years of an ordinary scientific study must be occurring far too rapidly to represent ordinary rates of evolution in the fossil record. The culprit of this paradox, as so often, is the vastness of time (a concept that we can appreciate "in our heads" but seem quite unable to get into the guts of our intuition). The key principle, however ironic, requires such a visceral understanding of earthly time: if evolution is fast enough to be discerned by our instruments in just a few years-that is, substantial enough to stand out as a genuine and directional effect above the random fluctuations of nature's stable variation and our inevitable errors of measurement-then such evolution is far too fast to serve as an atom of steady incrementation in a paleontological trend. Thus, if we can measure it at all (in a few years), it is too powerful to be the stuff of life's history. If large-scale evolution proceeded by stacking Trinidad guppy rates end to end, any evolutionary trend would be completed in a geological moment, not over the many million years actually observed. "Our face from fish to man," to cite the title of a famous old account of evolution for popular audiences, would run its course within a single geological formation, not over more than 400 million years, as our fossil record demonstrates." (Gould, S.J., "The Paradox of the Visibly Irrelevant," Natural History, December 1997/January 1998, Vol. 106, No. 11, p.64) February [top] 1/02/01 "Many people suppose that phylogeny can be discovered directly from the fossil record by studying a graded series of old to young fossils and by discovering ancestors, but this is not true. The fossil record supplies evidence of the geological ages of the forms of life, but not of their direct ancestor-descendant relationships. There is no way of knowing whether a fossil is a direct ancestor of a more recent species or represents a related line of descent (lineage) that simply became extinct." (Knox B., Ladiges P. & Evans B., eds., "Biology," , McGraw-Hill: Sydney, Australia, 1995, reprint, p.663) 2/02/01 "In other words, if horses have evolved-and few are those who would like to deny it-and if an explanation of this transformation through random mutations alone is excessively unlikely- as indeed it seems to be, since the great majority of mutations so far observed are adverse or even lethal-then it must be the automatic selection in each generation, of very slightly advantageous variants that has built up the otherwise astonishing result. But how, one may ask, do we know this? If mutation alone cannot explain the evolutionary process-the origin of life, of sentient life, of intelligent life-why is natural selection-the elimination of the worst mutations, a negative and external agency-the only conceivable alternative?" (Grene M., "The Faith of Darwinism," Encounter, Vol. 74, November 1959, p.50. Emphasis in original) 5/02/01 "Another common trick in controversy may be called the diversion. This is the absence of a proposition by another proposition which does not prove the first one, but which diverts the discussion to another question, generally one about which the person who makes the diversion feels more certain. ... This is a diversion because the speaker has shifted the discussion from one topic to another under the appearance of producing an argument for the original topic. Such diversions are found very commonly in arguments; sometimes they are deliberate and sometimes ... they are unintended. .... Indeed, diversions from any argument to a discussion of the personal characteristics of the disputants are so common as probably to form the majority amongst diversions." (Thouless R.H., "Straight and Crooked Thinking," , Pan: London, Revised Edition, 1973, 15th Printing, pp.39-40). 5/02/01 "For many years population genetics was an immensely rich and powerful theory with virtually no suitable facts on which to operate. It was like a complex and exquisite machine, designed to process a raw material that no one had succeeded in mining. Occasionally some unusually clever or lucky prospector would come upon a natural outcrop of high-grade ore, and part of the machinery would be started up to prove to its backers that it really would work. But for the most part the machine was left to the engineers, forever tinkering, forever making improvements, in anticipation of the day when it would be called upon to carry out full production. Quite suddenly the situation has changed. The mother-lode has been tapped and facts in profusion have been poured into the hoppers of this theory machine. And from the other end has issued - nothing. It is not that the machinery does not work, for a great clashing of gears is clearly audible, if not deafening, but it somehow cannot transform into a finished product the great volume of raw material that has been provided. The entire relationship between the theory and the facts needs to be reconsidered." (Lewontin R.C., "The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change," Columbia University Press: New York NY, 1974, p.189) 6/02/01 "But reductionistic biologists want to translate form into matter in the sense of least parts: Only biochemistry and cell biology, they hold, are biology at all. Thus they read selection as particulate, affecting always and only genes, not organisms. This is adaptationism, not because it is selectionist, but because it is atomistically so. It is not organisms or populations that are thought to be adapted, but their minute parts. In Aristotelian terms, formal cause is being suppressed for the sake of its material correlate - and in much the way that Aristotle himself found so inadequate in the case of Democritus. On the other hand, the just-so story aspect of adaptationist explanation, carrying over its atomizing habit to the phenotypic and behavioral level, tells what tales it likes of any and every trait, again, taken on its own." (Grene, M.G., "Introduction," in Grene M.G., ed., "Dimensions of Darwinism: Themes and Counterthemes in Twentieth-Century Evolutionary Theory," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1983, p.11. Emphasis original) 6/02/01 "What distinction is signalized by the terms Creatio prima seu immediata, and Creatio secunda seu mediata, and by who was 'it introduced? The phrase Creatio prima seu immediata signifies the originating act of the divine will whereby he brings, or has brought into being, out of nothing, the principles and elementary essences of all things. The phrase Creatio secunda seu mediata signifies the subsequent act of God in originating different forms of things, and especially different species of living beings out of the already created essences of things. The Christian Church holds both." (Hodge A.A., "Outlines of Theology," Second Edition, 1879, Banner of Truth: Edinburgh, 1983, reprint, pp.238-239) 7/02/01 "These misconceptions stem largely from the metaphorical ways in which the concept has been expressed, even by Darwin himself ... But as Darwin noted, such poetical expressions can lead us to view natural selection as `an active power or Deity,' omniscient, omnipotent, and, depending on one's point of view, either beneficent shaping species into perfect form or malevolent. ... Natural selection, however, has none of these qualities. It is not providential, it is neither moral nor immoral, it carries no ethical precepts - "it" is not an active agent with physical properties, much less a mind. It is no more than a statistical measure of the difference in survival or reproduction among entities that differ in one or more characteristics, Selection is not caused by differential survival and reproduction; it is differential survival and reproduction, and no more." (Futuyma D.J., "Evolutionary Biology," , Sinauer Associates: Sunderland MA, Second Edition, 1986, p.150. Emphasis original) 9/02/01 "A scientist commonly professes to base his beliefs on observations, not theories. Theories, it is said, are useful in suggesting new ideas and new lines of investigation for the experimenter; but "hard facts" are the only proper ground for conclusion. I have never come across anyone who carries this profession into practice--certainly not the hard-headed experimentalist, who is the more swayed by his theories because he is less accustomed to scrutinise them. Observation is not sufficient. We do not believe our eyes unless we are first convinced that what they appear to tell us is credible. It is better to admit frankly that theory has, and is entitled to have, an important share in determining belief." (Eddington A., "The Expanding Universe," Penguin: Harmondsworth, Middlesex UK, 1940, p.25) 11/02/01 "Indeed, if tubulin dimers are the basic computational units, then we must envisage the possibility of a potential computing power in the brain that vastly exceeds that which has been contemplated in the AI literature. Hans Moravec, in his book Mind Children (1988), assumed, on the basis of a 'neuron alone' model, that the human brain might in principle conceivably achieve some 1014 basic operations per second, but no more, where we consider that there might be some 1011 operational neurons, each capable of sending about 103 signals per second (cf. ß1.2). If, on the other hand, we consider the tubulin dimer as the basic computational unit, then we must bear in mind that there are some 107 dimers per neuron, the elementary operations now being performed some 106 times faster, giving us a total of around 1027 operations per second. Whereas present-day computers may be beginning to close in on the first figure of 1014 operations per second, as Moravec and others would strongly argue, there is no prospect of the 1027 figure being achieved in the foreseeable future. ... it is clear that the possibility of 'microtubular computing' (cf. Hameroff 1987) puts a completely different perspective on some of the arguments for imminent human-level artificial intelligence." (Penrose R., "Shadows of the Mind: A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness," , Vintage: London, 1995, reprint, p.366) 11/02/01 "Similarly the theory recently suggested by Einstein and de Sitter, that in the beginning all the matter created was projected with a radial motion so as to disperse even faster than the present rate of dispersal of the galaxies, leaves me cold. one cannot deny the possibility, but it is difficult to see what mental satisfaction such a theory is supposed to afford. Since I cannot avoid introducing this question of a beginning, it has seemed to me that the most satisfactory theory would be one which made the beginning not too unaesthetically abrupt." (Eddington A., "The Expanding Universe," Penguin: Harmondsworth, Middlesex UK, 1940, p.58. Emphasis in original) 11/02/01 "The test of extrapolation to the most distant future does not, I think, disclose any definite weakness in the present system of science-in particular, in the second law of thermodynamics on which physical science so largely relies. It is true that the extrapolation foretells that the material universe will some day arrive at a state of dead sameness and so virtually come to an end, to my mind that is a rather happy avoidance of a nightmare of eternal repetition. It is the opposite extrapolation towards the past which gives real cause to suspect a weakness in the present conceptions of science. The beginning seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look on it as frankly supernatural. We may have to let it go at that." (Eddington A., "The Expanding Universe," Penguin: Harmondsworth, Middlesex UK, 1940, p.117) 12/02/01 "But, as Gasman argues, Haeckel's greatest influence was, ultimately, in another, tragic direction-national socialism. His evolutionary racism; his call to the German people for racial purity and unflinching devotion to a "just" state; his belief that harsh, inexorable laws of evolution ruled human civilization and nature alike, conferring upon favored races the right to dominate others; the irrational mysticism that had always stood in strange communion with his brave words about objective science-all contributed to the rise of Nazism. The Monist League that he had founded and led, though it included a wing of pacifists and leftists, made a comfortable transition to active support for Hitler." (Gould, S.J., "Ontogeny and Phylogeny," Belknap Press: Cambridge MA, 1977, pp.77-78) 13/02/01 "The creativity of natural selection. Darwinians cannot simply claim that natural selection operates since everyone, including Paley and the natural theologians, advocated selection as a device for removing unfit individuals at both extremes and preserving, intact and forever, the created type. The essence of Darwinism lies in a claim that natural selection is the primary directing force of evolution, in that it creates fitter phenotypes by differentially preserving, generation by generation, the best adapted organisms from a pool of random variants that supply raw material only, not direction itself. Natural selection is a creator; it builds adaptation step by step." (Gould, S.J., "Darwinism and the Expansion of Evolutionary Theory," Science, Vol. 216, 23 April 1982, pp.380-381) 13/02/01 "Although gravity does play this unique role, the exact values of the strengths of the other fundamental forces seem to be just as important for life. The example we have elaborated in detail is typical of such exercises if we modify the value of one of the fundamental constants, something invariably goes wrong, leading to a universe that is inhospitable to life as we know it. When we adjust a second constant in an attempt to fix the problem(s), the result, generally, is to create three new problems for every one that we "solve." The conditions in our Universe really do seem to be uniquely suitable for life forms like ourselves, and perhaps even for any form of organic complexity." (Gribbin J. & Rees M.J., "Cosmic Coincidences: Dark Matter, Mankind, and Anthropic Cosmology," Bantam Books: New York NY, 1989, pp.268-269. Emphasis in the original) 16/02/01 "Many investigators now consider nucleic acids to be much more plausible candidates for the first self- replicating molecules. The work of Watson and Crick and others has shown that proteins are formed according to the instructions coded in DNA. But there is a hitch. DNA cannot do its work, including forming more DNA, without the help of catalytic proteins, or enzymes. In short, proteins cannot form without DNA, but neither can DNA form without proteins. To those pondering the origin of life, it is a classic chicken-and- egg problem: Which came first, proteins or DNA?" (Horgan J., "In The Beginning...," Scientific American, Vol. 264, No. 2, February 1991, pp.100-109, p.103. Ellipses in original) 20/02/01 "In his book about the Cambrian explosion, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, Stephen Jay Gould remarks on this top-down quality of the Cambrian with wonder." (Kauffman S.A., "At Home in the Universe," 1996, p.13) As well he might! You only have to think for one moment about what `top down' filling in would have to mean for the animals on the ground and you immediately see how preposterous it is. 'Body plans' like the mollusc body plan, or the echinoderm body plan, are not ideal essences hanging in the sky, waiting, like designer dresses, to be adopted by real animals. Real animals is all there ever was: living, breathing, walking, eats , excreting, fighting, copulating real animals, who had to survive and who can't have been dramatically different from their real parents and grandparents. For a new body plan-a new phylum-to spring into existence, what actually has to happen on the ground is that a child is born which suddenly, out of the blue, is as different from its parents as a snail is from an earthworm. No zoologist who thinks through the implications, not even the most ardent saltationist, has ever supported any such notion. Ardent saltationists have been content to postulate the sudden bursting into existence of new species, and even that relatively modest idea has been highly controversial. When you spell out the Gouldian rhetoric into real-life practicalities, it stands revealed as the purest of bad poetic science." (Dawkins R., "Unweaving The Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder," , Penguin: London, 1999, reprint, p.203. Emphasis original) 18/02/01 "Miller had performed the first prebiotic chemistry experiment He had discovered plausible means whereby the building blocks of proteins might have been formed on the early earth. .... Similar experiments have shown that it is possible (though with much greater difficulty) to form the nucleotide building blocks of DNA RNA, and fatty molecules and hence, through them, the structural material for cellular membranes. Many other small molecular components of organisms have been synthesized abiogenically. But substantial puzzles remain. Robert Shapiro notes in his book Origins: A Skeptic's Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth that even though scientists can show that it is possible to synthesize the various ingredients of life, it is not easy to get them to cohere into a single story One group of scientists discovers that molecule A can be formed from molecules B and C in a very low yield under a certain set of conditions Then, having shown that it is possible to make A, another group starts with a high concentration of the molecule and shows that by adding D one can form E-again in a very low yield and under quite different conditions. Then another group shows that E, in high concentration can form F under still different conditions. But how, without supervision, did all the building blocks come together at high enough concentrations in one place and at one time to get a metabolism going? Too many scene changes in this theater, argues Shapiro, with no stage manager." (Kauffman S.A., "At Home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity," , Penguin: London, 1996, reprint, p.36) 19/02/01 "Homology has proved one of the more enigmatic of evolutionary concepts. It seems to have a clear-cut meaning, but it rapidly becomes confusing when you try to apply it to real evidence. De Beer's paper discusses the problem, as he works through one possible criterion after another and shows that none of them are adequate. Homology is undoubtedly a genuine and important concept; the problem is to spell out exactly what it means." (Ridley M., "Reconstructing The Past," , in Ridley M., ed., "Evolution," Oxford Readers, Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1997, p.208) 20/02/01 "Different accounts leading to the origin of the replicator could be constructed, using other experiments published in the literature. Some would be less spectacular than the above one, but all would share the same general defects. Many steps would be required which need different conditions, and therefore different geological locations. The chemicals needed for one step may be ruinous to others. The yields are poor, with many undesired products constituting the bulk of the mixture. It would be necessary to invoke some imagined processes to concentrate the important substances and eliminate the contaminants. The total sequence would challenge our credibility, regardless of the time allotted for the process." Shapiro, R., "Origins: A Skeptic's Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth," Summit Books: New York NY, 1986, p.186) 20/02/01 "Some 540 million years ago, at the beginning of the Cambrian, there appeared an array of multicellular marine animals, including the major phyla that exist today-coelenterates, platyhelminths, annelids, arthropods, molluscs, Echinoderms and others. Chordates are also present in the Cambrian: they are not known from the earliest deposits, in which only hard parts are preserved, but are present in the slightly later Burgess Shale, in which soft-bodied forms are preserved. Forty years ago, this sudden appearance of metazoan fossils was not only a puzzle but something of an embarrassment: the absence of any known fossils from earlier rocks was a weapon widely used by creationists. Today, the fossil evidence for prokaryotes goes back 3000 million years, and for protists some 1000 million years. The Cambrian explosion remains a puzzle, however, which has been only fitfully illuminated by the discovery of the enigmatic soft- bodied Ediacaran fauna, which had a worldwide distribution between 580 and 560 million years ago. ... The puzzle is why the Cambrian explosion took place when it did. Two kinds of answer are possible. One is that, before complex multicellular organisms could evolve, some crucial invention or inventions in cell physiology or gene regulation had to be made: once made, there was rapid radiation into an ecologically empty world. The apparently monophyletic origin of the Metazoa, deduced from molecular data, is consistent with this view." (Maynard Smith J. & Szathmary E., "The Major Transitions in Evolution," W.H. Freeman: Oxford UK, 1995, p.203) 21/02/01 "`Mount Improbable' is a metaphor for adaptation occurring gradually, in increments. The metaphor is that of a mountain which has an absolutely sheer cliff face. If we relate this cliff to adaptation, to the most complicated piece of biological machinery you can think of, which for many people is an eye, then you say to yourself that it's impossible to leap from the bottom of this mountain to the top, which indeed it is. Leaping from the bottom of the cliff to the top would correspond to having the sheer luck to get that eye coming into place in one fell swoop. Many people wrongly think that Darwinism is a theory of chance, that it means that eyes and other complex organs come about by sheer luck. So no wonder these people don't believe natural selection. Of course an eye couldn't possibly come about like that. But on the other side of the mountain, you've got a slow, gradual slope. and it is very easy to get to the top of the mountain if you go around the other side and just walk up the slope. Relating this to adaptation, you have gradual, incremental improvement. You begin with hardly any eye at all and then each step of the way up the mountain gradual improvement. It may not be much but it's enough to be better than your predecessors, who didn't have even that improvement. Climbing Mount Improbable emphasizes that evolution of complex adaptations has got to be gradual." (Dawkins R., "Interview," in Campbell, N.A., Reece, J.B. & Mitchell, L.G., "Biology," , Benjamin/Cummings: Menlo Park CA, Fifth Edition, 1999, p.412) 22/02/01 "An evolutionary moment is frozen in time. Complete skeletons of the horse Pliohippus verify the transition of a primitive three-toed variety (above) to the one-toed type (top) ten million years ago." [This is the caption below pictures of fossil hooves of a one-toed and a three-toed horse respectively. Both horses were entombed at the same time in the one volcanic ashfall! - SEJ] (Voorhies M.R., "Ancient Ashfall Creates a Pompei of Prehistoric Animals," National Geographic, Vol. 159, No. 1, January 1981, pp.67-68,74) 22/02/01 "In another of your books, The Selfish Gene, you argue that genes are the units upon which natural selection acts and that organisms are "survival machines" for genes. To what extent are humans exceptions to this mechanistic view of life? Humans are fundamentally not exceptional because we came from the same evolutionary source as every other species. It is natural selection of selfish genes that has given us our bodies and our brains. However, the brains that natural selection gave us are exceptionally big brains, so big that they have done a rather unusual thing. Using language and culture, humans have formed societies in which there is something like Darwinian evolution going on, though it is not really Darwinian. We live in a highly domestic environment, largely governed by technology, largely divorced from the environment in which our genes were originally naturally selected. So what is different about us is that it is no longer possible to look at a human the way one might look at a wildebeest or a kangaroo and ask, "Why is that? What's that kangaroo doing that increases its gene survival?" If you see a wild animal doing something in the wild, then it's sensible to ask the question, "What is it about that behavior, or what is it about that morphological structure, which improves its survival, or more particularly the survival of its genes?" And you can't do that for humans? No, you can't look at humans playing the violin, or trying to run a company, or writing a book or writing a symphony, and ask, "In what way does writing this symphony benefit survival and replication of that human's genes?" because it doesn't." (Dawkins R., "Interview," in Campbell N.A., Reece J.B. & Mitchell L.G., "Biology," , Benjamin/Cummings: Menlo Park CA, Fifth Edition, 1999, p.412) 24/02/01 "Darwin's theory of evolution, therefore, passes muster as science even though it is not, strictly speaking, falsifiable. The same applies to other historical theories: the 'Big Bang' theory of cosmology is scientific so long as you can test it against observations from astronomy and physics. The theory that there was a battle of Waterloo in 1815 is scientific in so far as if can be tested against documentary evidence. It would seem that only the less ambitious theories-ones that restrict themselves to present and future events-can be strictly scientific in the sense of being falsifiable." (Leith B., "The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinism," Collins: London, 1982, p.29 24/02/01 "Henry Ward Beecher, America's premier pulpiteer during Darwin's century, defended evolution as God's way in a striking commercial metaphor: "Design by wholesale is grander than design by retail' - better, that is, to ordain general laws of change than to make each species by separate fiat." (Gould, S.J., "Knight Takes Bishop?," in Bully for Brontosaurus: Further Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1992, p.400) 25/02/01 "The philosophers have another bone to pick with evolutionary theory, one that has haunted Darwinism for a hundred years: is the idea of natural selection a tautology? A tautology is the saying of something twice over in different words, and is therefore either a nonsense or a statement which is so self-evident as to be meaningless. The statement 'several bachelors who were not married were at the meeting' is nonsense because bachelors are unmarried, while the sentence implies that they are not. ... For a scientific statement to avoid being tautologous, therefore, it must propose some relationship in the world that is testable by experiment. The problem of tautology in Darwinism is a subtle one. It hinges on the definitions of a few crucial words: 'the survival of the fittest.' This is the central claim that Darwin make that only the 'fittest' succeed in a struggle for 'survival'. If this basic statement does not tell us anything new about the Outside world then the whole of Darwinism is in deep trouble. Unfortunately the senses in which these words are often used by biologists do turn the statement into a nonsense." (Leith B., "The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinism," Collins: London, 1982, p.29. Emphasis in the original.) 25/02/01 "Finally, what's being sent seems to be a long sequence of prime numbers, integers that can't be divided by any other number except themselves and one. No astrophysical process is likely to generate prime numbers. So I'd say-we want to be cautious, of course-but I'd say that by every criterion we can lay our hands on, this looks like the real thing." (Sagan C., "Contact," , Pocket Books: New York NY, 1986, reprint, p.69) 25/02/01 "This problem of just-so story telling is not some minor irritation to do with the perennial problem of giraffes, dismissable as some naive caricature of what you really proposed in your theory of evolution. The problem runs much deeper and wider, embracing many new disciplines of evolutionary psychology, Darwinian medicine, linguistics, biological ethics and sociobiology. Here quite vulgar explanations are offered, based on the crudest applications of selection theory, of why we humans are the way we are. There seems no aspect of our psychological make-up that does not receive its supposed evolutionary explanation from the sorts of things our selfish genes forced us to do 200,000 to 500,000 years ago. ... Not only is there the embarrassing spectacle of psychologists, philosophers and linguists rushing down the road of selfish genetic determinism, but we are also shackled with their self-imposed justification in giving 'scientific' respectability to complex behavioural phenomena in humans which we simply do not so far have the scientific tools and methodologies to investigate. There is a naivety about genetic determinism in both evolution and development that signifies intellectual laziness at best and shameless ignorance at worst when confronted with issues of massive complexity." (Dover G.A., "Dear Mr Darwin: Letters on the Evolution of Life and Human Nature," , University of California Press, Berkeley CA, 2000, reprint, p.45) 26/02/01 "To have a theory of evolution we need a theory of development; but to have a theory of development we need a theory of molecular interactions during the construction of an organism. We don't have a theory of interactions and so it is difficult to have a comprehensive theory of evolution. Indeed, I shall argue that we can no more have a theory of developmental interactions than we can have a theory of history, despite the attempts to produce one. So can we really have a true theory of evolution? Both individual development and evolution are the result of chance, ungoverned by any 'laws' of nature." (Dover G.A., "Dear Mr Darwin: Letters on the Evolution of Life and Human Nature," , University of California Press: Berkeley CA, 2000, reprint, pp.xii-xiii) 26/02/01 "These shortest-term studies are elegant and important, but they cannot represent the general mode for building patterns in the history of life. The reason strikes most people as deeply paradoxical, even funny-but the argument truly cannot be gainsaid. Evolutionary rates of a moment, as measured for guppies and lizards, are vastly too rapid to represent the general modes of change that build life's history through geological ages. ... These measured changes over years and decades are too fast by several orders of magnitude to build the history of life by simple cumulation. Reznick's guppy rates range from 3,700 to 45,000 darwins (a standard metric for evolution, expressed as change in units of standard deviation-a measure of variation around the mean value of a trait in a population-per million years). By contrast, rates for major trends in the fossil record generally range from 0.1 to 1.0 darwins. Reznick himself states that "the estimated rates [for guppies] are...four to seven orders of magnitude greater than those observed in the fossil record" (that is, ten thousand to ten million times faster!)." (Gould, S.J., "The Paradox of the Visibly Irrelevant," Natural History, December 1997/January 1998, Vol. 106, No. 11, pp.61-62,64) 26/02/01 "Exactly what form that self-replicating enzyme might have taken was first suggested 30 years ago, when RNA was put forward as the precursor to DNA and proteins in early lifeforms. In cells today, RNA is the go- between for DNA and proteins: a protein is manufactured from an RNA template, which has itself been created from a DNA template. The idea remained purely speculative until the early 1980s when Thomas Cech at the University of Colorado and Sydney Altman at Yale University independently discovered RNA molecules with catalytic ability, now known as ribozymes. This discovery immediately put on a much firmer footing the idea that RNA could have been used for both storing information and catalysing reactions in early forms of life, and in 1986 the term 'RNA world' was coined. Nevertheless, despite the fact that most scientists working in this field accept the validity of the idea, the RNA world hypothesis is still far from being proved. For one thing, in almost 20 years only seven types of natural ribozymes have been discovered: two remove introns (parts of RNA that don't code for proteins) from themselves; four cut themselves in two; and one trims off the end of an RNA precursor. So, as David Bartel and Peter Unrau, researchers in the Whitehead Institute at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, US, say in a recent review (Trends Cell Biol., 1999, 9(12), M9): 'Although the reactions of natural ribozymes are fascinating and impressive, they do not approach the sophistication of the key reactions assumed by the RNA world hypothesis'." (Evans, J., "It's alive - isn't it?," Chemistry in Britain, Vol. 36, No. 5, May 2000, pp.44-45, pp.44-47) 28/02/01 "It is true that some of the simpler amino acids have been found in complex mixtures generated under conditions simulating those that might have been present on the primitive Earth. Even nucleotide letters have been found in mixtures that are said to be plausible simulations of probiotic products. But all such 'molecules of life' are always minority products and usually no more than trace products. Their detection often owes more to the skill of the experimenter than to any powerful tendency for the 'molecules of life' to form." (Cairns-Smith A.G., "Seven Clues to the Origin of Life: A Scientific Detective Story," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1993, reprint, pp.44-45) 28/02/01 "Sugars are particularly trying. While it is true that they form from formaldehyde solutions, these solutions have to be far more concentrated than would have been likely in primordial oceans. And the reaction is quite spoilt in practice by just about every possible sugar being made at the same time - and much else besides. Furthermore the conditions that form sugars also go on to destroy them. Sugars quickly make their own special kind of tar - caramel - and they make still more complicated mixtures if amino acids are around." (Cairns-Smith A.G., "Seven Clues to the Origin of Life: A Scientific Detective Story," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1993, reprint, p.44) March [top] 1/03/01 "In sum the ease of synthesis of 'the molecules of life' has been greatly exaggerated. It only applies to a few of the simplest and in no case is it at all easy to see how the molecules would have been sufficiently unencumbered by other irrelevant or interfering molecules to have allowed further organisation to higher- order structures of the kinds that would be needed: message tapes, selective control structures, etc. Finally, even if I am wrong about all this and primitive geochemistry had shown a precision in organic reaction control quite unlike modern geochemistry; even if it had produced all 'the molecules of life' and nothing but 'the molecules of life' in ample amounts; even then it would still only have reached the edges of the real problem as outlined in the first four chapters. Still, somehow, an evolving machine had to be made." (Cairns-Smith A.G., "Seven Clues to the Origin of Life: A Scientific Detective Story," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1993, reprint, p.44) 1/03/01 "The opposite truth has been affirmed by innumerable cases of measurable evolution at this minimal scale- but, to be visible at all over so short a span, evolution must be far too rapid (and transient) to serve as the basis for major transformations in geological time. Hence, the "paradox of the visibly irrelevant"-or, if you can see it at all, it's too fast to matter in the long run." (Gould, S.J., "The Paradox of the Visibly Irrelevant," Natural History, December 1997/January 1998, Vol. 106, No. 11, pp.14-15) 2/03/01 "But I do not pretend that I should ever have suspected how poor was the record in the best preserved geological sections, had not the absence of innumerable transitional links between the species which lived at the commencement and close of each formation, pressed so hardly on my theory." (Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," , Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 6th Edition, 1928, reprint, p.311) 3/03/01 "I do not think, if someone finally twists the key successfully in the tiniest and most humble house of life that many of these questions will be answered, or that the dark forces which create lights in the deep sea and living batteries in the waters of tropical swamps, or the dread cycles of parasites, or the most noble workings of the human brain, will be much if at all revealed. Rather, I would say that if `dead' matter has reared up this curious landscape of fiddling crickets, song sparrows, and wondering men, it must be plain even to the most devoted materialist that the matter of which he speaks contains amazing, if not dreadful powers, and may not impossibly be, as Hardy has suggested, `but one mask of many worn by the Great Face behind.'" (Eiseley L.C., "The Secret of Life," in "The Immense Journey," , Vintage: New York NY, 1957, reprint, p.210) 7/03/01 "Should we conclude that the universe is a product of design? The new physics and the new cosmology hold out a tantalizing promise: that we might he able to explain how all the physical structures in the universe have come to exist, automatically, as a result of natural processes. We should the no longer have need for a Creator in the traditional sense. Nevertheless, though science may explain the world, we still have to explain science. The laws which enable the universe to come into being spontaneously seem themselves to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design. If physics is the product of design, the universe must have a purpose, and the evidence of modern physics suggests strongly to me that the purpose includes us." (Davies P.C.W., "Superforce: The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Nature," , Penguin: London, 1995, reprint, p.243) 8/03/01 "In my book The Accidental Universe I have made a comprehensive study of all the apparent 'accidents' and 'coincidences' that seem to be necessary in order that the important complex structures which we observe in the universe should exist. The sheer improbability that these felicitous concurrences could be the result of a series of exceptionally lucky accidents has prompted many scientists to agree with Hoyle's pronouncement that the universe is a `put-up job'." (Davies P.C.W., "Superforce: The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Nature," , Penguin: London, 1995, reprint, p.242) 12/03/01 "Cladistic analysis of cranial and dental evidence has been widely used to generate phylogenetic hypotheses about humans and their fossil relatives. However, the reliability of these hypotheses has never been subjected to external validation. To rectify this, we applied identical methods to equivalent evidence from two groups of extant higher primates for whom reliable molecular phylogenies are available, the hominoids and papionins. We found that the phylogenetic hypotheses based on the craniodental data were incompatible with the molecular phylogenies for the groups. Given the robustness of the molecular phylogenies, these results indicate that little confidence can be placed in phylogenies generated solely from higher primate craniodental evidence. The corollary of this is that existing phylogenetic hypotheses about human evolution are unlikely to be reliable. Accordingly, new approaches are required to address the problem of hominin phylogeny." (Collard M. & Wood B., "How reliable are human phylogenetic hypotheses?," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 97, No. 9, April 25, 2000, pp.5003-5006. http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/97/9/5003) 14/03/01 "There is a fundamental law of the kingdom that, in an echo of Noah, requires electrons to enter orbitals two by two and no more than two by two. That is, according to the exclusion principle enunciated by the Austrian-born physicist Wolfgang Pauli in 1924, no more than two electrons can occupy any one orbital. This is an extraordinarily deep principle of quantum mechanics: it can be traced to foundations embedded in the structure of spacetime, and is perhaps the deepest of all principles governing the imaginary kingdom, and hence-because the kingdom is not really all that imaginary-the actual kingdom, too. There is no picture to elucidate the principle: it is handed down on stone tablets as an axiom, from whatever hand carves axioms." (Atkins P.W., "The Periodic Kingdom: A Journey into the Land of the Chemical Elements," Basic Books: New York NY, 1995, pp.116-117. Emphasis original) 17/03/01 "The creationists so animating one another, the lay public, and our contemporary court system today rest uneasy with Darwin's heritage. Natural selection, operating on variations which are random with respect to usefulness, appears a slim force for order in a chaotic world. Yet the creationists' impulse is not merely misplaced religion. Science consists in discovering that point of view under which what did occur is what we have good grounds to expect might have occurred. Our legacy from Darwin, powerful as it is, has fractures as its foundations. We do not understand the sources of order on which natural selection was privileged to work. As long as our deepest theory of living entities is the geneology [sic] of contraptions and as long as biology is the laying bare of the ad hoc, the intellectually honorable motivation to understand partially lying behind the creationist impulse will persist." (Kauffman S.A., "The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution," Oxford University Press: New York NY, 1993, p.643) 18/03/01 "Then came 1952. J. and E.M. Lederberg designed an ingenious experiment which demonstrated that bacteria could become resistant to streptomycin without coming into contact with it. What was worse, the experiment was equally effective in verifying the pioneering finding of Luria & Delbruck. As far as Lamarckism was concerned, that was virtually the end ... The theory was not only overthrown, it also became thoroughly discredited. It did not occur to the jubilant Darwinists that they had yet to show that all adaptive mutations in nature occur purely by chance. ... Because of the euphoria which attended the triumph of Darwinism, the effect of those experiments on the thinking on evolution was most profound. First, the long-held conjecture that chance alone produced the favourable variations which natural selection preserved was deemed, without any justification, to have been experimentally verified. Then everything that evolved was designated the lucky beneficiary of chance. Enzymes, proteins, and even man himself, were held to be the products of mere chance. In short, the biologists' belief in the creative power of chance soon equalled or surpassed the Christian belief in the creative power of God." (Opadia-Kadima G.Z., "How the Slot Machine Led Biologists Astray," Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 124, 1987, pp.127-135, p.129) 18/03/01 "This book is an attempt to focus attention on new themes in developmental and evolutionary biology. It is, in fact, an attempt to include Darwinism in a broader context. ... No research program has sought to determine the implications of adaptive processes that mold systems with their own inherent order. Yet such must be our task. And more as well, for some systems adapt readily, whereas others are so badly disrupted by minor modifications that adaptive improvement by random mutation and selection can hardly occur. Darwin simply assumed that such improvement was possible. One might have thought, more than a century later, that we would understand the construction requirements which permit complex systems to adapt. But we do not. Nor do we understand the extent to which selection can achieve systems able to adapt successfully." (Kauffman S.A., "The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution," Oxford University Press: New York NY, 1993, p.vii) 19/03/01 "Darwin and evolutionism stand astride us, whatever the mutterings of creation scientists. But is the view right? Better, is it adequate? I believe it is not. It is not that Darwin is wrong, but that he got hold of only part of the truth. For Darwin's answer to the sources of the order we see all around us is overwhelmingly an appeal to a single singular force: natural selection. It is this single-force view which I believe to be inadequate, for it fails to notice, fails to stress, fails to incorporate the possibility that simple and complex systems exhibit order spontaneously." (Kauffman S.A., "The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution," Oxford University Press: New York NY, 1993, p.xii) 19/03/01 "PALEONTOLOGY. once more, furnishes both the most direct evidence for the fact of evolution, and the most imposing evidence against the conception of evolution as a continuous, gradual progression of adaptive relationships. `Gaps in the fossil record' were a serious stumbling block in Darwin's time, and despite the discovery of many missing linked for example the striking completion of horse family history, or the discovery of the bird ancestor Archaeopteryx, with its reptilian features-they still persist. Moreover, they persist systematically: over and over, with suddenness termed `explosive,' a bewildering variety of new types appear: this is true, notably, for example, of the origin of the major mammalian types. Thus, as G.G. Simpson's calculations of rates of evolution show, the bat's wing if evolved by `normal' Mendelian mutation and selective pressure, would have had to begin developing well before the origin of the earth!" (Grene M., "The Faith of Darwinism," Encounter, Vol. 74, November 1959, p.54) 19/03/01 "From another perspective, David Lack, loyal Darwinian though he is, gives the game away. In the book I have already mentioned, he refers to Darwin's question: "Can the mind of man, descended, as I believe, from the lowest animal be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?" and he comments: `Darwin's "horrid doubt" as to whether the convictions of man's evolved mind could be trusted applies as much to abstract truth as to ethics; and "evolutionary truth" is at least as suspect as evolutionary ethics. At this point, therefore, it would seem that the armies of science are in danger of destroying their own base. For the scientist must be able to trust the conclusions of his reasoning. Hence he cannot accept the theory that man's mind was evolved wholly by natural selection if this means, as it would appear to do, that the conclusions of the mind depend ultimately on their survival value and not their truth, thus making all scientific theories, including that of natural selection, untrustworthy.' Lack concludes from this that the old opposition of science and religion is still, and must remain, an "unresolved conflict." But I think one may conclude, on the contrary, that it is the conventional logic of science, and the view of mind implied in it, that needs revision. For, as Plato argued long ago about Protagonas' "man the measure," there is surely something wrong in a theory which, at its very root, invalidates itself." (Grene, M.G., "The Faith of Darwinism," Encounter, Vol. 74, November 1959, p.56). 20/03/01 "Dawkins ran the simulation again, starting with a new random sequence of letters. This time the computer reached the target in 64 generations. On a third run, the computer reached the target in 41 generations. This is an average rate of 1.8 generations per substitution Evolutionists advertised the rapid simulated evolution as evidence for Darwinism. ... Yet the simulation not only succeeds in accomplishing its task, but it does so very rapidly and consistently. It never fails NEVER. ... The computer simulations use many unrealistic assumptions that favor evolution. First, the simulations assume away everything that could prevent evolution.
Having artificially disallowed all possible failure modes, it is not surprising the evolution simulations work." (ReMine W.J.*, "The Biotic Message: Evolution Versus Message Theory," St. Paul Science: Saint Paul MN, 1993, p.232) 22/03/01 "There's just one thing we haven't quite dared to mention. It's this, and you won't believe it. It's all happened already. Back there in the past, ten thousand years ago. The man of the future, with the big brain, the small teeth. Where did it get him? Nowhere. Maybe there isn't any future. Or, if there is, maybe it's only what you can find in a little heap of bones on a certain South African beach. Many of you who read this belong to the white race. We like to think about this man of the future as being white. It flatters our ego. But the man of the future in the past I'm talking about was not white. He lived in Africa. His brain was bigger than your brain. His face was straight and small, almost a child's face. He was the end evolutionary product in a direction quite similar to the one anthropologists tell us is the road down which we are traveling." (Eiseley L.C., "The Immense Journey," , Vintage: New York, 1957, reprint, pp.129-130. Emphasis in original) 22/03/01 "Assertions that we are descended either from a large, vegetarian, apelike ancestor (Australopithecus robustus) or from a smaller, carnivorous one (Australopithecus africanus) and that we owe our present natures to the eating habits of these early "ancestors" are totally without merit. We have not the faintest idea of which of these species-if either-is in the direct line of human descent. .... A major problem in reconstructing human evolution is that we have no close living relatives. The chimpanzee and the gorilla were connected to us by a common ancestor at least 7 million years ago, so that more than 14 million years of independent evolution must be traversed in tracing up from these apes to that common ancestor and then back down to us." (Lewontin R.C., "Human Diversity," Scientific American Library: New York NY, 1995, p.164) 25/03/01 "As The Blob, of Steve McQueen's greatest triumph, so amply demonstrated, the more you encompass the more formless you become. Orzack accuses me of construing the modern synthesis too narrowly in describing a version championed only by Mayr and Fisher-a pair of unlikely bedfellows, I would have thought. Yet his version is so broad that he wins his own argument by internal definition, thus rendering it meaningless. (Gould, S.J., "But Not Wright Enough: Reply to Orzack," Paleobiology, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp.131-134, 1981, p.131) 26/03/01 "What strikes one about the Jewish description of creation and early man, compared with pagan cosmogonies, is the lack of interest in the mechanics of how the world and its creatures came into existence, which led the Egyptian and Mesopotamian narrators into such weird contortions. The Jews simply assume the pre-existence of an omnipotent God, who acts but is never described or characterized, and so has the force and invisibility of nature itself: it is significant that the first chapter of Genesis, unlike any other cosmogony of antiquity, fits perfectly well, in essence, with modern scientific explanations of the origin of the universe, not least the 'Big Bang' theory." (Johnson P., "A History of the Jews," Weidenfeld & Nicolson: London, 1987, p.8) 27/03/01 "My main criticism of Darwinism is that it fails in its initial objective, which is to explain the origin of species. Now, let me explain exactly what I mean by that. I mean it fails to explain the emergence of organisms, the specific forms during evolution like algae and ferns and flowering plants, corals, starfish, crabs, fish, birds. That sort of spectrum of organism, each of which is distinct from the other. They don't blend with each other, they are distinct from each other. Now the problem is that in order to understand that the kind of distinct structure and form we have to understand how organisms are actually generated, and that means understanding how starting with an egg or a bud, the organism goes through a developmental process and ends up as a particular type of species with a particular morphology (shape and features). So the whole problem then is to try to understand the nature of that process. One of the fundamental issues is whether or not you can get more or less any kind of organism, or whether there are constraints. Darwin turned biology into a historical science, and in Darwinism, species are simply accidents of history, they don't have any inherent nature. They are just 'the way things happened to work out' and there aren't any particular constraints that mean it couldn't have all worked out very differently." (Goodwin B., in "An interview with Professor Brian Goodwin by Dr David King," GenEthics News, Issue 11. March/April 1996, pp.6-8. http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/article8.htm) 27/03/01 "The biblical record does not settle the uniqueness, antiquity, and unity of the human race by a central appeal to morphological considerations. The disjunction between man and the animals, of the sub-Adamic forms and the Adam form of life, in Genesis, takes place with the formation of a creature under moral command. Man's basic distinction is that he is divinely endowed with the imago Dei, through the specially inbreathed breath of life. The Bible knows man as from the beginning intended for fellowship with God, for rational-moral-spiritual discrimination, for social responsibility for dominion over the earth and the animals. The record moves swiftly, in biblical theology, from the primal Adam, who is already a "cultured gentleman,' to the beginnings of society and civilization. ... Perhaps we are not to rule out dogmatically the possibility that the dust of man's origin may have been animated, since the animals before man appear to have been fashioned from the earth (Gen. 1:24). The Bible does not explicate man's physical origin in detail. The fact that, after Genesis 1:1 the narrator deals with a mediate creation, which involves the actualizing of potentialities latent in the original creation, should caution us against the one-sided invocation of divine transcendence." (Henry, C.F.H.*, "Science and Religion," in Henry, C.F.H.*, ed., "Contemporary Evangelical Thought: A Survey," , Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1968, reprint, p.282) 29/03/01 "Consequently, if the theory be true, it is indisputable that before the lowest Cambrian stratum was deposited, long periods elapsed, as long as, or probably far longer than, the whole interval from the Cambrian age to the present day; and that during these vast periods the world swarmed with living creatures. ... To the question why we do not find rich fossiliferous deposits belonging to these assumed earliest periods prior to the Cambrian system, I can give no satisfactory answer." (Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," , Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 6th Edition, 1928, reprint, p.315) 29/03/01 "He who rejects this view of the imperfection of the geological record, will rightly reject the whole theory. For he may ask in vain where are the numberless transitional links which must formerly have connected the closely allied or representative species found in the successive stages of the same great formation?" (Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," , Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 6th Edition, 1928, reprint, p.343) 30/03/01 "There's a hole in the case for creation so big you could drive a truck through it. It's as simple as this: Creation can't possibly be true ... if there's no Creator. For too many people that settles the issue right there. They `know' with every fiber of their being that there is no Creator, and they have built their whole life on that premise. The noted British anthropologist, Sir Arthur Keith, for example, summarized it this way, `The only alternative to some form of evolution is special creation, which is unthinkable.' For Keith, creation (which he acknowledged as the only alternative to evolution) was simply `unthinkable,' so he would not even permit himself to look at the evidence one way or the other." (Parker, G.E.*, "Creation: the Facts of Life," Master Book Publishers: San Diego CA, 1980, pp.134-135. Ellipses in original) 31/03/01 "Anyone trying to solve this puzzle immediately encounters a paradox. Nowadays nucleic acids are synthesized only with the help of proteins, and proteins are synthesized only if their corresponding nucleotide sequence is present. It is extremely improbable that proteins and nucleic acids, both of which are structurally complex, arose spontaneously in the same place at the same time. Yet it also seems impossible to have one without the other. And so, at first glance, one might have to conclude that life could never, in fact, have originated by chemical means." (Orgel L.E., "The Origin of Life on the Earth," Scientific American, Vol. 271, No. 4, October 1994, p.54) April [top] 3/04/01 "The cosmos is so vast because there is one crucially important huge number Ν in nature, equal to 1,000,000, 000,000, 000,000,000,000, 000, 000, 000, 000. This number measures the strength of the electrical forces that hold atoms together, divided by the force of gravity between them. If Ν had a few less zeros, only a short-lived miniature universe could exist: no creatures could grow larger than insects, and there would be no time for biological evolution." (Rees, M.J., "Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape the Universe," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 2000, p.2) 3/04/01 "Another number, ε, whose value is 0.007, defines how firmly atomic nuclei bind together and how all the atoms on Earth were made. Its value controls the power from the Sun and, more sensitively, how stars transmute hydrogen into all the atoms of the periodic table. Carbon and oxygen are common, whereas gold and uranium are rare, because of what happens in the stars. If ε were 0.006 or 0.008, we could not exist." (Rees, M.J., "Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape the Universe," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 2000, p.2) 3/04/01 "The cosmic number Ω (omega) measures the amount of material in our universe - galaxies, diffuse gas, and 'dark matter'. Ω tells us the relative importance of gravity and expansion energy in the universe. If this ratio were too high relative to a particular 'critical' value, the universe would have collapsed long ago; had it been too low, no galaxies or stars would have formed. The initial expansion speed seems to have been finely tuned." (Rees, M.J., "Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape the Universe," , Phoenix: London, 2000, pp.2-3) 4/04/01 "Measuring the fourth number, λ (lambda), was the biggest scientific news of 1998. An unsuspected mew force - a cosmic 'antigravity' - controls the expansion of our universe, eaten though it has no discernible effect on scales less than a billion light-years. It is destined to become ever more dominant over gravity and other forces as our universe becomes ever darker and emptier. Fortunately for us (and very surprisingly to theorists), λ is very small. Otherwise its effect would have stopped galaxies and stars from forming, and cosmic evolution would have been stifled before it could even begin." (Rees, M.J., "Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape the Universe," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 2000, p.3) 4/04/01 "The seeds for all cosmic structures - stars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies - were all imprinted in the Big Bang. The fabric of our universe depends on one number, Q which represents the ratio of two fundamental energies and is about 1/100,000 in value. If Q were even smaller, the universe would be inert and structureless; if Q were much larger, it would be a violent place, in which no stars or solar systems could survive. dominated by vast black holes." (Rees, M.J., "Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape the Universe," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 2000, p.3) 5/04/01 "The sixth crucial number has been known for centuries, although it's now viewed in a new perspective. It is the number of spatial dimensions in our world, D, and equals three. Life couldn't exist if D were two or four. Time is a fourth dimension, but distinctively different from the others in that it has a built-in arrow: we 'move' only towards the future. Near black holes, space is so warped that light moves in circles, and time can stand still. Furthermore, close to the time of the Big Bang, and also on microscopic scales, space may reveal its deepest underlying structure of all: the vibrations and harmonies of objects called 'superstrings', in a ten- dimensional arena." (Rees, M.J., "Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape the Universe," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 2000, pp.3-4) 6/04/01 "From different kinds of eyes in contemporary animals, one may guess how the organ evolved. Many primitive animals even a few protists, have light-sensitive spots. In some flatworms (planaria) the pigmented spot becomes a cavity; if the opening is narrowed, it can form a crude image. Covering it with transparent skin could lead to the making of a lens, and so forth. Darwin, troubled by the perfection of the eye, pointed out such gradations (C. Darwin 1964,186-190), yet the existence of viable stages on the way does not explain how it was possible that many very unlikely genes came along in the right order to direct all the details, while at the same time an immensely larger number of continually occurring deleterious mutations were continually being eliminated." (Wesson R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1994, reprint, p.62) 6/04/01 "This book describes six numbers that now seem especially significant. Two of them relate to the basic forces; two fix the size and overall 'texture' of our universe and determine whether it will continue for ever; and two more fix the properties of space itself. ... Perhaps there are some connections between these numbers At the moment, however, we cannot predict any one of them from the values of the others. Nor do we know whether some 'theory of everything' will eventually yield a formula that interrelates them, or that specifies them uniquely. I have highlighted these six because each plays a crucial and distinctive role in our universe, and together they determine how the universe evolves and what its internal potentialities are; moreover, three of them (those that pertain to the largescale universe) are only now being measured with any precision." (Rees, M.J., "Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape the Universe," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 2000, pp.2,4) 6/04/01 "These six numbers constitute a 'recipe' for a universe. Moreover, the outcome is sensitive to their values: if any one of them were to be `untuned', there would be no stars and no life. Is this tuning just a brute fact, a coincidence? Or is it the providence of a benign Creator? I take the view that it is neither. An infinity of other universes may well exist where the numbers are different. Most would be stillborn or sterile. We could only have emerged (and therefore we naturally now find ourselves) in a universe with the 'right' combination. This realization offers a radically new perspective on our universe, on our place in it, and on the nature of physical laws." (Rees, M.J., "Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape the Universe," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 2000, p.4) 7/04/01 "It is also worth pondering why there has been general and unquestioned acceptance of Kettlewell's work. Perhaps such powerful stories discourage close scrutiny. Moreover, in evolutionary biology there is little payoff in repeating other people's experiments, and, unlike molecular biology, our field is not self-correcting because few studies depend on the accuracy of earlier ones. Finally, teachers such as myself often neglect original papers in favour of shorter textbook summaries, which bleach the blemishes from complicated experiments." (Coyne J.A., "Not black and white," review of Majerus M.E.N., "Melanism: Evolution in Action," Oxford University Press, 1998, Nature Vol. 396, No. 6706, 5 November 1998, pp.35-36, p.36) 7/04/01 "Once it was clearly established that spontaneous generation did not take place and that all life (as far as human beings were able to observe) came from previous life, it became very difficult to decide how life originated on Earth-or on any other planet. ... the defeat of spontaneous generation and the new suggestion that life came only from previous life, which came only from still earlier life and so on in an endless chain, made it seem that the original forms of life couldn't possibly have arisen save through some miraculous event. In that case, even if habitable planets were as plentiful as the stars themselves, Earth might yet be the only one that bore life." (Asimov I., "Extraterrestrial Civilizations," Crown: New York NY, 1979, p.153-154) 8/04/01 "A HALF century has passed since Darwin wrote `The Origin of Species,' and once again, but with a new aspect, the relation between life and the environment presents itself as an unexplained phenomenon. The problem is now far different from what it was before, for adaptation has won a secure position among the greatest of natural processes, a position from which we may suppose it is certainly never to be dislodged; and natural selection is its instrument, even if, as many think, not the only one. Yet natural selection does but mold the organism; the environment it changes only secondarily, without truly altering the primary quality of environmental fitness. This latter component of fitness, antecedent to adaptations, a natural result of the properties of matter and the characteristics of energy in the course of cosmic evolution, is as yet nowise accounted for. It exists, however, and must not be dismissed as gross contingency. The mind balks at such a view. Coincidences so numerous and so remarkable as those which we have met in examining the properties of matter as they are related to life, must be the orderly results of law, or else we shall have to turn them over to final causes and the philosopher." (Henderson L.J., "The Fitness of the Environment: An Inquiry into the Biological Significance of the Properties of Matter," , Beacon Press: Boston MA, 1958, reprint, pp.274-276) 9/04/01 "Thus regarded, our new form of the old riddle appears twofold, and, on that account, for the present the more unanswerable. There is but one immediate compensation for this complexity; a proof that somehow, beneath adaptations, peculiar and unsuspected relationships exist between the properties of matter and the phenomena of life; that the process of cosmic evolution is indissolubly linked with the fundamental characteristics of the organism; that logically, in some obscure manner, cosmic and biological evolution are one. In short, we appear to be led to the assumption that the genetic or evolutionary processes, both cosmic and biological, when considered in certain aspects, constitute a single orderly development that yields results not merely contingent, but resembling those which in human action we recognize as purposeful. For, undeniably, two things which are related together in a complex manner by reciprocal fitness make up in a very real sense a unit, something quite different from the two alone, or the sum of the two, or the relationship between the two. In human affairs such a unit arises only from the effective operation of purpose." (Henderson L.J., "The Fitness of the Environment: An Inquiry into the Biological Significance of the Properties of Matter," , Beacon Press: Boston MA, 1958, reprint, pp.278-279) 9/04/01 "However, not all scientists find it so easy to accept the "miracle of nature" as a brute fact. It is all very well proclaiming that the laws of physics plus the cosmic initial conditions explain the universe, but this begs the question of where those laws and conditions came from in the first place. Science may be powerfully successful in explaining the universe, but how do we explain science? Why does science-based on the notion of eternal laws of physics work, and work so well? As our understanding of the basic processes of nature advances, so it becomes increasingly clear that what we call scientific laws are not just any old laws, but are remarkably special in a number of intriguing ways. ... The physical world is not arbitrarily regulated; it is ordered in a very particular way poised between the twin extremes of simple regimented orderliness and random complexity. It is neither a crystal nor a random gas. The universe is undeniably complex, but its complexity is of an organized variety. Moreover, this organization was not built into the universe at its origin. It has emerged from primeval chaos in a sequence of self-organizing processes that have progressively enriched and complexified the evolving universe in a more or less unidirectional matter. It is easy to imagine a world that, while ordered, nevertheless does not possess the right sort of forces or conditions for the emergence of complex organization." (Davies P.C.W., "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Science," in Templeton J.M, ed., "Evidence of Purpose: Scientists Discover the Creator," Continuum: New York, 1994, pp.44-45) 10/04/01 "Natural selection remains still a vera causa in the origin of species; but the function ascribed to it is practically reversed. It exchanges its former supremacy as the supposed sole determinant among practically indefinite possibilities of structure and function, for the more modest position of simply accelerating, retarding, or terminating the process of otherwise determined change. It furnishes the brake rather than the steam or the rails for the journey of life; or in better metaphor, instead of guiding the ramifications of the tree of life, it would, in Mivart's excellent phrase, do little more than apply the pruning knife to them. In other words, its functions are mainly those of the third Fate, not the first, of Siva, not of Brahma.-PATRICK GEDDES and J. ARTHUR THOMPSON, "Evolution." New York, Home University Library, 1911, p. 248." (Henderson L.J., "The Fitness of the Environment: An Inquiry into the Biological Significance of the Properties of Matter," , Beacon Press: Boston MA, 1958, reprint, pp.274-275. Emphasis original) 10/04/01 "For the coincidence of properties itself a rational explanation based upon known laws of nature is perhaps conceivable. Attention has already been called to the interconnection of such properties as latent heat of vaporization, thermal conductivity, molecular volume, the value of the van der Waals constant a, the dielectric constant, and ionizing power. Further, it is of course most probable that numerous other properties are necessarily associated with these; and finally it is not surprising that elements of low atomic weight, which become concentrated in the atmosphere on account of the small specific gravity of their gases, should possess unusual properties, like high specific heat, or if one property leads to another, many unusual properties. Be that as it may, chemical science is still a very long way from accounting for the simultaneous occurrence of the various characteristics of water, especially if we include such things as heat of formation, solvent power, the process of hydrolytic cleavage, the degree of solubility of carbon dioxide, the anomalous expansion on cooling near the freezing point, etc. There is, in fact, exceedingly little ground for hope that any single explanation of these coincidences can arise from current hypotheses and laws. But if to the coincidence of the unique properties of water we add that of the chemical properties of the three elements, a problem results under which the science of to-day must surely break down." (Henderson L.J., "The Fitness of the Environment: An Inquiry into the Biological Significance of the Properties of Matter," , Beacon Press: Boston MA, 1958, reprint, pp.276-277) 10/04/01 "There is, in fact, exceedingly little ground for hope that any single explanation of these coincidences can arise from current hypotheses and laws. But if to the coincidence of the unique properties of water we add that of the chemical properties of the three elements, a problem results under which the science of to-day must surely break down. If these taken as a whole are ever to be understood it will be in the future, when research has penetrated far deeper into the riddle of the properties of matter. Nevertheless an explanation cognate with known laws is conceivable, and in the light of experience it would be folly to think it impossible or even improbable. Such an explanation once attained might, however, avail the biologist little; for a further problem, apparently more difficult, remains. How does it come about that each and all of these many unique properties should be favorable to the organic mechanism, should fit the universe for life? And for the answer to this question existing knowledge provides, I believe, no clew. ... The great difficulty appears to be that there is here no possibility of interaction. In our solar system, at least, the fitness of the environment far precedes the existence of the living organisms." (Henderson L.J., "The Fitness of the Environment: An Inquiry into the Biological Significance of the Properties of Matter," , Beacon Press: Boston MA, 1958, reprint, pp.277-278) 10/04/01 "My heart would sink whenever my father attributed the carelessness of scholars to his own ignorance based on lack of professional training. I could never get him to understand that advanced degrees and letters after a name guarantee no new level of wisdom and that, in the end, there is no substitute for old- fashioned careful reading. I could never convince him that he had a far better chance than Uno or Due to grasp the integrity of another man's argument. After all, he had the prerequisites of basic intelligence and adequate knowledge of jargon; and he possessed, in addition and in abundance, two cardinal traits rarely encountered in active scholars: time to read carefully, and lack of distorting preconceptions." (Gould, S.J., "Men of the Thirty-Third Division: An Essay on Integrity," in "Eight Little Piggies: Reflections in Natural History," Jonathan Cape: London, 1993, pp.124-125) 11/04/01 "Alternatively the numerical coincidences could be regarded as evidence of design. The delicate fine-tuning in the values of the constants, necessary so that the various different branches of physics can dovetail so felicitously, might be attributed to God. It is hard to resist the impression that the present structure of the universe, apparently so sensitive to minor alterations in the numbers, has been rather carefully thought out. Such a conclusion can of course, only be subjective. In the end it boils down to a question of belief. Is it easier to believe in a cosmic designer than the multiplicity of universes necessary for the weak anthropic principle to work? It is hard to see how either hypothesis could ever be tested in the strict scientific sense. As remarked in the previous chapter, if we cannot visit the other universes or experience them directly, their possible existence must remain just as much a matter of faith as belief in God. Perhaps future developments in science will lead to more direct evidence for other universes, but until then, the seemingly miraculous concurrence of numerical values that nature has assigned to her fundamental constants must remain the most compelling evidence for an element of cosmic design." (Davies P.C.W., "God and the New Physics," , Penguin: London, 1990, reprint, p.189) 11/04/01 "As soon as the evolution doctrine was accepted the term took on a new significance: homologous structures were now defined as those derived from the same single structure in a common ancestor) however much that structure may have been modified by subsequent variation in evolution. All the humerus bones of the terrestrial vertebrates) for instances are thought to be derived by modification over millions and millions of years from the bones of the primitive limb-like fins of the first fish-like amphibia that pioneered the conquest of the land from the water. In the same way, the hearts, the nerve cords, the eyes and so on are said to be homologous, derived by gradual modification from the original ancestral type. This seemed very simple at one time and is still spoken of by most zoologists as if it were; the fact is, however, that today the idea of homology is not quite so easy- to understand. It is a curious paradox that this concept of homology is absolutely fundamental to what we are talking about when we speak of evolution, yet in truth I believe we cannot explain it at all in terms of present-day biological theory ..." (Hardy A., "The Living Stream: Evolution and Man," , Meridian: Cleveland OH, 1968, reprint, p.211) 12/04/01 "In 1611 Galileo visited Rome and demonstrated his telescope to the most eminent personages at the pontifical court. Encouraged by the flattering reception accorded to him, he ventured, in three letters on the sunspots printed at Rome in 1613 ... to take up a more definite position on the Copernican theory. Movement of the spots across the face of the Sun, Galileo maintained, proved Copernicus was right and Ptolemy wrong. His great expository gifts and his choice of Italian, in which he was an acknowledged master of style, made his thoughts popular beyond the confines of the universities and created a powerful movement of opinion. The Aristotelian professors, seeing their vested interests threatened, united against him. They strove to cast suspicion upon him in the eyes of ecclesiastical authorities because of contradictions between the Copernican theory and the Scriptures. They obtained the cooperation of the Dominican preachers, who fulminated from the pulpit against the new impiety of "mathematicians" and secretly denounced Galileo to the Inquisition for blasphemous utterances, which, they said, he had freely invented." (de Santillana G., "Galileo," Encyclopaedia Britannica, Benton: Chicago, 15th edition, 1984, Vol. 7, pp.852- 853) 13/04/01 "The only illustration Darwin published in On the Origin of Species was a diagram depicting his view of evolution: species descendant from a common ancestor; gradual change of organisms over time; episodes of diversification and extinction of species. Given the simplicity of Darwin's theory of evolution, it was reasonable for paleontologists to believe that they should be able to demonstrate with the hard evidence provided by fossils both the thread of life and the gradual transformation of one species into another. Although paleontologists have, and continue to claim to have, discovered sequences of fossils that do indeed present a picture of gradual change over time, the truth of the matter is that we are still in the dark about the origin of most major groups of organisms. They appear in the fossil record as Athena did from the head of Zeus-full-blown and raring to go, in contradiction to Darwin's depiction of evolution as resulting from the gradual accumulation of countless infinitesimally minute variations, which, in turn, demands that the fossil record preserve an unbroken chain of transitional forms." (Schwartz, J.H., "Sudden Origins: Fossils, Genes, and the Emergence of Species," John Wiley & Sons: New York NY, 1999, p.3) 14/04/01 "There is, in truth, not one chance in countless millions of millions that the many unique properties of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and especially of their stable compounds water and carbonic acid, which chiefly make up the atmosphere of a new planet, should simultaneously occur in the three elements otherwise than through the operation of a natural law which somehow connects them together. There is no greater probability that these unique properties should be without due cause uniquely favorable to the organic mechanism. These are no mere accidents; an explanation is to seek. It must be admitted, however, that no explanation is at hand." (Henderson L.J., "The Fitness of the Environment: An Inquiry into the Biological Significance of the Properties of Matter," , Beacon Press: Boston MA, 1958, reprint, p.276) 14/04/01 "Many molecules, particularly organic molecules (or those containing carbon atoms), may be described as 'left-handed' or 'right-handed'. In the normal laboratory synthesis of compounds with left- and right-handed versions, a process involving many millions of molecules in order to have weighable quantities, the result is an equal production of left- and right-handed molecules. By contrast, nature almost always produces molecules of one unique type. The tartaric acid produced in fermentation consists of just one of the two mirror-image forms, whereas in laboratory synthesis both forms are made in equal amounts. The actual properties of the left-handed and the right-handed version of the same molecule are in most respects identical the same weight, the same chemical reactions. ...Even the small molecules involved in living systems not only show handedness but also exist in just one natural form. Above all, the amino-acids, from which proteins are built, are all left-handed. We actually possess an enzyme in our livers which will destroy any right-handed amino-acids that we happen to synthesize or encounter. Clearly, the nature of life is closely related to the symmetry of the molecules which constitute living systems. What now cries out to be answered is why all life is built from molecules of a definite handedness. This remains an unsolved problem, despite a wealth of speculation. Not only are the small molecular building blocks of one specific handedness; so are the larger structures made from them." (Richards W.G., "The Problems of Chemistry," Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1986, pp.43-44,46-47) 15/04/01 "The theory of evolution by natural selection is not a difficult concept to grasp, and Charles Darwin addressed The Origin of Species itself to a general audience. But neither is it self-evident to many people that natural selection can fully account for the world they observe. Thus when questions about the theory arise in public forums, the scientific community would do much better in the long run to patiently list supporting facts and frankly admit where positive evidence is lacking, rather than paternalistically maintaining that an understanding of the theory of evolution is reserved for the priesthood of professional scientists." (Behe M.J., "Understanding Evolution," Letters, Science, 30 August 1991, p.950) 15/04/01 "Because there are no alternatives, we would almost have to accept natural selection as the explanation of life on this planet even if there were no evidence for it. Thankfully, the evidence is overwhelming. I don't just mean evidence that life evolved (which is way beyond reasonable doubt, creationists notwithstanding), but that it evolved by natural selection. Darwin himself pointed to the power of selective breeding, a direct analogue of natural selection, in shaping organisms. ... Natural selection is also readily observable in the wild. In a classic example, the white peppered moth gave way in nineteenth- century Manchester to a dark mutant form after industrial soot covered the lichen on which the moth rested, making the white form conspicuous to birds. When air pollution laws lightened the lichen in the 1950s, the then-rare white form reasserted itself. There are many other examples, perhaps the most pleasing coming from the work of Peter and Rosemary Grant. ... The Grants painstakingly measured the size and toughness of the seeds in different parts of the Galapagos at different times of the year, the length of the finches' beaks, the time they took to crack the seeds, the numbers and ages of the finches in different parts of the islands, and so on-every variable relevant to natural selection. ... Selection in action is even more dramatic among faster-breeding organisms, as the world is discovering to its peril in the case of pesticide-resistant insects, drug-resistant bacteria, and the AIDS virus in a single patient." (Pinker S., "How the Mind Works," , Penguin: London, 1998, pp.162-163. Emphasis in the original) 16/04/01 "IN SHORT, three concepts, evolution, in the minimal sense of "descent with modification" (no "emergence," no "higher and lower" allowed), variation, in the sense of Mendelian micromutation, tiny changes in the structure or arrangement of the genes, the ultimate material of heredity (no sweeping or sudden alterations allowed), and natural selection, the decrease in frequency of those variants that happen in each successive generation to be less well adapted than others to their particular environment: these three form a tight circle within which, in happy self-confirmation, neo- Darwinian thinking moves. To those who believe in it, this circle is an ample intellectual dwelling place, roomy enough in fact to house all the immense achievements of modern biological research. To those not so convinced, however, the circle seems a strangely constricted one. They may even agree with the Professor Emeritus of Zoology at Cambridge that `no amount of argument, or clever epigram, can disguise the inherent improbability of orthodox (Darwinian) theory.' [Gray, J., "The Case for Natural Selection." Review of "Evolution in Action," by Julian Huxley, Chatto & Windus: London, 1953. Nature, Vol. 173, February 6, 1954, p.227]" (Grene, M.G., "The Faith of Darwinism," Encounter, Vol. 74, November 1959, p.50. Emphasis original) 16/04/01 "FIRST, it is one of the major paradoxes of the history of science, that the Darwinian theory, speculative as it must be by the very nature of its subject-matter, has been held up as a model of simple Baconian induction through the patient accumulation of facts. ... No, the species theory, like most great forward steps in science, was a triumph of scientific imagination rather than of fact-collecting. Dr. Himmelfarb shows us plainly the two leaps of imagination through which Darwin's theory took shape: first in the sketch of 1837, where he speaks of adaptation perpetuated through generation, and secondly in the notes of 1842 and 1844, which follow his reading of Malthus on population, the text which by his own account suggested to him the concepts of struggle for existence and survival of the fittest, the essential agents of natural selection. These steps once made, the new conceptual scheme took over, and the task of the Origin was to amplify the evidence in its support-evidence gleaned everyhow and everywhere- with the passion of genius ... and to assimilate within its all-enclosing scope whatever evidence might appear at first sight to conflict with it. The method is one of imagination, of extrapolation from a few facts to many more inferred realities seen in terms of the imagined scheme, and proof of these realities by the exclusion of other possibilities." (Grene, M.G., "The Faith of Darwinism," Encounter, Vol. 74, November 1959, p.51. Emphasis original). 18/04/01 "In order to build up a structure by natural selection, it is essential that each stage in the building process must make an animal better fitted to its environment than the one before it. An eye that is half developed must be more useful to an animal than an eye that is 49 per cent developed, and this in turn, than one, the development of which has proceeded to only 48 per cent, and so on. The graph of usefulness against the extent of structural organization must show a steady upward rise-otherwise progress must inevitably stop, hindered by natural selection itself. If the graph is not a steady upward rise, but has ups and downs, then natural selection (which selects usefulness and adaptation), working from either direction, will force the organism to the nearest maximum. Today, with our much greater knowledge of and familiarity with complex systems, we know that steady upward rises of the kind demanded by materialistic evolutionists are unknown to science. Isolated fundamental changes make a machine less efficient than it was before and may even make it useless, unless, indeed, numerous other adaptations are made at the same time. The radio manufacturer cannot turn one model of a wireless set into a larger and better one by continuous stages-he cannot add a new valve, a condenser, a piece of wire, etc., in a series of operations, and hope each time to obtain a model that is slightly better than the one before. All the changes must be made at once-or not at all! To add an extra valve to a wireless set you must first cut through wires, disconnect the loudspeaker, etc., and at once the set becomes useless as a functioning whole. Only after passing through the useless stage can it be made more useful than before. It is the same with all arrangements of matter organised as functioning units. To ask for a gradual, uniform, improvement is, it seems, to ask for the impossible." (Clark R.E.D., "The Universe: Plan or Accident?: The Religious Implications of Modern Science," , Paternoster: London, Third Edition, 1961, pp.123-124) 19/04/01 "Biological information is the most important information we can discover because over the next several decades it will revolutionize medicine and lead to treatments for most diseases. Human DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software we've ever created." (Gates W.H., "The Road Ahead," , Penguin: London, Revised, 1996, p.228) 19/04/01 "This is not to suggest that Darwin or Darwinians, past or present, are "speculative" rather than "scientific" in their reasoning. Darwin himself certainly was not of a philosophical turn of mind; and he certainly believed sincerely, as his followers have done and do, that, as against such daydreaming evolutionists as his grandfather or such systematising evolutionists as Herbert Spencer, he was patiently and empirically and critically pursuing facts and rejecting hypotheses not confirmed by facts. Yet what the genius of Darwin achieved, surely, was not to discover a host of new facts unknown to his predecessors that somehow added up to the further fact of evolution through natural selection; what he did was to see the facts in a new context-an imaginative context, the context of an idea, but an idea which seemed and seems to many modern minds peculiarly factual, an idea so convincing, so congenial, so satisfying that it feels like fact." (Grene, M.G., "The Faith of Darwinism," Encounter, Vol. 74, November 1959, p.51. Emphasis original). 21/04/01 "materialism ... the theory that matter alone exists. It immediately implies a denial of the existence of minds, spirits, divine beings, etc., in so far as these are taken to be non-material. It was proposed by the ancient atomists (Democritus, Epicurus) and in the modern era by Gassendi, Hobbes, Meslier, La Mettrie, Helvetius, Holbach, etc. Its current versions, formulated with greater conceptual refinement, are often called PHYSICALISM. It has been said that during the 1960s (and since), materialism became one of the few orthodoxies of American academic philosophy, and analytic philosophy elsewhere has shown a similar tendency. The doctrine is older than the word, of which the earliest use can be traced to the 1660s." (Mautner, T., ed., "The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy," , Penguin: London, Revised, 2000, pp.341- 342. Emphasis original) 21/04/2001 "naturalism ... (in modern metaphysics) the view that everything (objects and events) is a part of nature, an all-encompassing world of space and time. It implies a rejection of traditional beliefs in supernatural beings or other entities supposedly beyond the ken of science. Human beings and their mental powers are also regarded as normal parts of the natural world describable by science. Human beings and their mental powers are also regarded as normal parts of the natural world describable by science. ... This obviates the need to postulate entities outside the material world. ... (in philosophy of mind) physicalism, i.e. materialism in combination with the view that mentalistic discourse should be reduced, explained or eliminated in favour of non-mentalistic scientifically acceptable discourse." (Mautner, T., ed., "The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy," , Penguin: London, Revised, 2000, p.373. Emphasis original) 22/04/01 "But as researchers continue to examine the RNA-world concept closely, more problems emerge. How did RNA arise initially? RNA and its components are difficult to synthesize in a laboratory under the best of conditions, much less under plausible prebiotic ones. For example, the process by which one creates the sugar ribose, a key ingredient of RNA, also yields a host of other sugars that would inhibit RNA synthesis. Moreover, no one has yet come up with a satisfactory explanation of how phosphorus, which is a relatively rare substance in nature, became such a crucial ingredient in RNA (and DNA)." (Horgan J., "In The Beginning...," Scientific American, February 1991, p.103. Ellipses in original) 23/04/01 "Courtroom experience during my career at the bar taught me to attach great weight to something that may seem trivial to persons not skilled in argumentation-the burden of proof. The proponents of a theory, in science or elsewhere, are obligated to support every link in the chain of reasoning, whereas a critic or skeptic may peck at any aspect of the theory, testing it for flaws. He is not obligated to set up any theory of his own or to offer any alternative explanations. He can be purely negative if he so desires. William Jennings Bryan forgot this in Tennessee, and was jockeyed into trying to defend fundamentalism, although this was not necessary to the matter in hand. The results were disastrous. They would have been equally disastrous for Clarence Darrow if he had tried to discharge the burden of proof for the other side. The winner in these matters is the skeptic who has no case to prove." (Macbeth N., "Darwin Retried: An Appeal to Reason," Gambit: Boston MA, 1971, p.5) 23/04/01 "Naturalists must remember that the process of evolution is revealed only through fossil forms. A knowledge of paleontology is, therefore, a prerequisite; only paleontology can provide them with the evidence of evolution and reveal its course or mechanisms. Neither the examination of present beings, nor imagination, nor theories can serve as a substitute for paleontological documents. If they ignore them, biologists, the philosophers of nature, indulge in numerous commentaries and can only come up with hypotheses. This is why we constantly have recourse to paleontology, the only true science of evolution. From it we learn how to interpret present occurrences cautiously; it reveals that certain hypotheses considered certainties by their authors are in fact questionable or even illegitimate." (Grasse P.-P., "Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation," Academic Press: New York NY, 1977, p.4) 23/04/01 "MODERN arguments work in much the same way. Thus for example the recent work of H.B.D. Kettlewell on industrial melanism has certainly confirmed the hypothesis that natural selection takes place in nature. This is the story of the black mutant of the common peppered moth which, as Kettlewell has shown with beautiful precision, increases in numbers in the vicinity of industrial centres and decreases, being more easily exposed to predators, in rural areas. Here, say the neo-Darwinians, is natural selection, that is, evolution, actually going on. But to this we may answer: selection, yes; the colour of moths or snails or mice is clearly controlled by visibility to predators; but "evolution"? Do these observations explain how in the first place there came to be any moths snails or mice at all? By what right are we to extrapolate the pattern by which colour or other such superficial characters are governed to the origin of species, let alone of classes, orders, phyla of living organisms? But, say the neo-Darwinians again, natural selection is the only mechanism we observe in present-day nature. But again, if this were so, we should still have no right to say that the only mechanism we see at work now is the only one that has been at work in all the long past of the living world. Nor, for that matter, is it the only "mechanism." ... Because the chance-variation/ natural-selection schema, which through Darwin's work first convinced the world that evolution did in fact happen, still holds-the mind entranced, absorbs into itself all evolutionary data, and at the same time rejects all data not so absorbable." (Grene, M.G., "The Faith of Darwinism," Encounter, Vol. 74, November 1959, p.51. Emphasis original). 23/04/01 "THERE is superstition in science quite as much as there is superstition in theology, and it is all the more dangerous because those suffering from it are profoundly convinced that they are freeing themselves from all superstition. No grotesque repulsiveness of mediśval superstition, even as it survived into nineteenth- century Spain and Naples, could be much more intolerant, much more destructive of all that is fine in morality, in the spiritual sense, and indeed in civilization itself, than that hard dogmatic materialism of to-day which often not merely calls itself scientific but arrogates to itself the sole right to use the term. If these pretensions affected only scientific men themselves, it would be a matter of small moment, but unfortunately they tend gradually to affect the whole people, and to establish a very dangerous standard of private and public conduct in the public mind. This tendency is dangerous everywhere, but nowhere more dangerous than among the nations in which the movement toward an unshackled materialism is helped by the reaction against the deadly thraldom of political and clerical absolutism." (Roosevelt, T. "History as Literature," 1913. http://www.bartleby.com/56/9.html) 24/04/01 "As David Bohm has written: `It seems clear that everybody has got some kind of metaphysics, even if he thinks he hasn't got any. Indeed, the practical "hard-headed" individual who "only goes by what he sees" generally has a very dangerous kind of metaphysics, i.e., the kind of which he is unaware.... Such metaphysics is dangerous because, in it, assumptions and inferences are being mistaken for directly observed facts, with the result that they are effectively riveted in an almost unchangeable way into the structure of thought.' Bohm then adds some practical advice: `One of the best ways of a person becoming aware of his own tacit metaphysical assumptions is to be confronted by several other kinds. His first reaction is often of violent disturbance, as views that are very dear are questioned or thrown to the ground. Nevertheless, if he will "stay with it," rather than escape into anger and unjustified rejection of contrary ideas, he will discover that this disturbance is very beneficial. For now he becomes aware of the assumptive character of a great many previously unquestioned features of his own thinking.'" (Bohm, D., "Some Remarks on the Notion of Order," in Waddington, C.H., ed., "Towards a Theoretical Biology: Edinburgh University Press," 2, 1969, pp.41,42, in Thaxton, C.B.*, Bradley, W.L.* & Olsen, R.L.*, "The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories," , Lewis & Stanley: Dallas TX, 1992, Second Printing, pp.207-208) 24/04/01 "For some years now I have tutored undergraduates on various aspects of Biology. It is quite common during the course of conversation to ask the student if he knows the evidence for Evolution. This usually evokes a faintly superior smile at the simplicity of the question, since it is an old war-horse set in countless examinations. `Well, sir, there is the evidence from palaeontology, comparative anatomy, embryology, systematics and geographical distributions,' the student will say in a nursery-rhyme jargon, sometimes even ticking off the words on his fingers. He would then sit and look fairly complacent and wait for a more difficult question to follow, such as the nature of the evidence for Natural Selection. Instead I would continue on with Evolution. `Do you think that the Evolutionary Theory is the best explanation yet advanced to explain animal interrelationships?' I would ask. `Why, of course, sir,' would be the reply in some amazement at my question.' `There is nothing else, except for the religious explanation held by some Fundamentalist Christians, and I gather, sir, that these views are no longer held by the more up-to-date Churchmen.' `So,' I would continue, `you believe in Evolution because there is no other theory?' `Oh, no, sir,' would be the reply, `I believe in it because of the evidence I just mentioned.' `Have you read any book on the evidence for Evolution?' I would ask. `Yes, sir,' and here he would mention the names of authors of a popular school textbook, `and of course, sir, there is that book by Darwin, The Origin of Species.' `Have you read this book?' I asked. `Well, not all through, sir.' `About how much?' `The first part, sir.' `The first fifty pages?' `Yes, sir, about that much; maybe a bit less.' `I see, and that has given you your firm understanding of Evolution?' `Yes, sir.' `Well, now, if you really understand an argument you will be able to indicate to me not only the points in favour of the argument but also the most telling points against it.' `I suppose so, sir.' `Good. Please tell me, then, some of the evidence against the theory of Evolution.' `Against what, sir?' `The theory of Evolution.' `But there isn't any, sir.' Here the conversation would take on a more strained atmosphere. The student would look at me as if I was playing a very unfair game. It would be clearly quite against the rules to ask for evidence against a theory when he had learnt up everything in favour of the theory. He also would take it rather badly when I suggest that he is not being very scientific in his outlook if he swallows the latest scientific dogma and, when questioned, just repeats parrot fashion the views of the current Archbishop of Evolution. In fact he would be behaving like certain of those religious students he affects to despise. He would be taking on faith what he could not intellectually understand and when questioned would appeal to authority, the authority of a `good book' which in this case was The Origin of Species." (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, pp.3-5) 24/04/01 "naturalism. In general the view that everything is natural, i.e. that everything there is belongs to the world of nature, and so can be studied by the methods appropriate for studying that world, and the apparent exceptions can be somehow explained away. ... In metaphysics naturalism is perhaps most obviously akin to materialism, but it does not have to be materialistic. What it insists on is that the world of nature should form a single sphere without incursions from outside by souls or spirits, divine or human, and without having to accommodate strange entities like non-natural values or substantive abstract universals. ... The important thing for the naturalist in the metaphysical sphere is that the world should be a unity in the sense of being amenable to a unified study which can be called the study of nature, though it may not always be easy to say what counts as a sufficient degree of unification." (Lacey, A.R., "naturalism," in Honderich, T., ed., "The Oxford Companion to Philosophy," Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1995, pp.604-605) 25/04/01 "Perhaps because the subterfuges of mimicry so resembled his own favorite tools as literary trickster, Nabokov was loath to consign their wonderment to strictly mechanical causes. He suspected a subtle intelligence was at work. Remington believes it was Nabokov's "strong metaphysical investment in his challenge to selection" that made him unsatisfied with a Darwinian explanation." (Boyd B. & Pyle R.M., ed., "Nabokov's Butterflies," Nabokov D., Transl., Allen Lane / Penguin Press: London, 2000, p.65) 26/04/01 "Design-stance prediction works wonderfully on well-designed artifacts, but it also works wonderfully on Mother Nature's artifacts-living things and their parts. Long before the physics and chemistry of plant growth and reproduction were understood, our ancestors quite literally bet their lives on the reliability of their design-stance knowledge of what seeds were supposed to do when planted. If I press a few seeds into the ground just so, then in a few months, with a modicum of further care from me, there will be food here to eat." (Dennett, D.C., "Kind of Minds: Towards an Understanding of Consciousness," , Phoenix: London, 1998, reprint, p.39. Emphasis original) 26/04/01 "Due to this scarcity of financial resources the study of the origins of life has been forced to become a most efficient and cost-effective industry from just a thimble-full of facts the scientists engaged in that study manage to generate a virtually endless supply of theories!" (Scott A., "The Creation of Life: Past, Future, Alien," Basil Blackwell: Oxford UK, 1986, p.111) 28/04/01 "Personally, I consider fundamentalist creationism to be a far sillier idea than the craziest of all the crazy notions which scientists have ever proposed; but as scientists gloat over the deficiencies of non- scientific accounts of our origin and evolution, they should not ignore the considerable deficiencies in their own account. At the moment scientists certainly do not know how, of even if, life originated on earth from lifeless atoms. They do have a few plausible ideas on the subject, but many more rather implausible ones. (Scott A., "The Creation of Life: Past, Future, Alien," Basil Blackwell: Oxford UK, 1986, p.112) 28/04/01 "But Nabokov did not pass over the subject superficially. He gave selection and mimicry a great deal of careful thought, took issue with the species concepts of the leading evolutionary biologists of the day (his Harvard contemporaries Ernst Mayr and Theodosius Dobzhansky), and wrote provocatively on mimicry. It may even be that some of his objections foreshadowed current debate among different schools of selectionists. But Nabokov withheld his assent for a universe fully ruled by chance, and this may have permitted his temperamental preference for mystery and convolution to overwhelm the parsimony of natural selection in wholly accounting for the miracles made manifest in butterflies." (Boyd B. & Pyle R.M., ed., "Nabokov's Butterflies," Nabokov D., Transl., Allen Lane / Penguin Press: London, 2000, p.65) 28/04/01 "Over the years a slowly emerging line or boundary has appeared which shows observationally the limits of what can be expected from matter and energy left to themselves, and what can be accomplished only through what Michael Polanyi has called "a profoundly informative intervention."1 [Polanyi M., "Life Transcending Physics and Chemistry," Chemical Engineering News, August 21, 1967, p.54]. When it is acknowledged that most so-called prebiotic simulation experiments actually owe their success to the crucial but illegitimate role of the investigator, a new and fresh phase of the experimental approach to life's origin can then be entered. Until then however, the literature of chemical evolution will probably continue to be dominated by reports of experiments in which the investigator, like a metabolizing Maxwell Demon, will have performed work on the system through intelligent, exogenous intervention. Such work establishes experimental boundary conditions, and imposes intelligent influence/control over a supposedly `prebiotic' earth. As long as this informative interference of the investigator is ignored, the illusion of prebiotic simulation will be fostered. We would predict that this practice will prove to be a barrier to solving the mystery of life's origin." (Thaxton, C.B.*, Bradley, W.L.* & Olsen, R.L.*, "The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories," , Lewis & Stanley: Dallas TX, 1992, Second Printing, p.185. Emphasis original) May [top] 1/05/01 "In effect, talk of a primitive aggregate collecting up potential enzymes really implies the operation of an intelligence, an intelligence which by distinguishing potential enzymes possesses powers of judgment. Since this conclusion is exactly what those who put forward this argument are anxious to avoid, their position is absurd. To press the matter further, if there were a basic principle of matter which somehow drove organic systems toward life, its existence should easily be demonstrable in the laboratory. One could, for instance, take a swimming bath to represent the primordial soup. Fill it with any chemicals of a non- biological nature you please. Pump any gases over it, or through it, you please, and shine any kind of radiation on it that takes your fancy. Let the experiment proceed for a year and see how many of those 2,000 enzymes have appeared in the bath. I will give the answer, and so save the time and trouble and expense of actually doing the experiment. You would find nothing at all, except possibly for a tarry sludge composed of amino acids and other simple organic chemicals. How can I be so confident of this statement? Well, if it were otherwise, the experiment would long since have been done and would be well known and famous throughout the world. The cost of it would be trivial compared to the cost of landing a man on the Moon." (Hoyle, F., "The Intelligent Universe," Michael Joseph: London, 1983, pp.19-21) 1/05/01 "Throughout his later fiction Nabokov shapes his own worlds to match the munificence he senses behind our world's complexity. But although this feeling arose in good measure out of his science, he could not express it there. Only in mimicry did he suspect that the design behind things was apparent enough and explicit enough to be treated as science. No wonder, as he writes in his autobiography, "The mysteries of mimicry had a special attraction for me," no wonder he has Konstantin Godunov-Cherdyntsev in The Gift expound to his son "about the incredible artistic wit of mimetic disguise, which was not explainable by the struggle for existence...and seemed to have been invented by some waggish artist precisely for the intelligent eyes of man"." (Boyd B. & Pyle R.M., ed., "Nabokov's Butterflies," Nabokov D., Transl., Allen Lane / Penguin Press: London, 2000, p.20) 1/05/01 "The missing link between man and the apes, whose absence has comforted religious fundamentalists since the days of Darwin, is merely the most glamorous of a whole hierarchy of phantom creatures. In the fossil record, missing links are the rule: the story of life is as disjointed as a silent newsreel, in which species succeed one another as abruptly as Balkan prime ministers. The more scientists have searched for the transitional forms that lie between species, the more they have been frustrated. Paleontologist Patricia Kelley has traced the development of a burrowing mollusk-Anadara staminea-over 2 million years of the Miocene Epoch, during which time the position of one muscle gradually shifted by 1.5 millimeters. Abruptly, A. staminea disappears, to be succeeded by the closely related species A. chesapeakensa-in which the muscle has suddenly shifted by 1.5 millimeters in the opposite direction. What kind of evolution is this, which seems to stand on its head the notion of gradual progress from primitive to more advanced species?" (Adler, J. & Carey, J., "Is Man a Subtle Accident?," Newsweek, November 3, 1980, pp.54-55, p.54) 3/05/01 "Seventy years after quantum theory revolutionized physics, an oddly analogous change has occurred in the theory of evolution and it is just beginning to filter down to wider public understanding. Evidence from the fossil record now points overwhelmingly away from the classical Darwinism which most Americans learned in high school: that new species evolve out of existing ones by the gradual accumulation of small changes, each of which helps the organism survive and compete in the environment. Increasingly, scientists now believe that species change little for millions of years and then evolve quickly, in a kind of quantum leap-not necessarily in a direction that represents an obvious improvement in fitness. The theory is still being worked out. Among other points of contention, it is uncertain whether the leaps take place in a few generations or over tens of thousands of years. But at a conference in mid-October at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, the majority of 160 of the world's top paleontologists, anatomists, evolutionary geneticists and developmental biologists supported some form of this new theory of `punctuated equilibria.'" (Adler, J. & Carey, J., "Is Man a Subtle Accident?," Newsweek, November 3, 1980, pp.54-55, p.54) 4/05/01 "The new theory, according to paleontologist Steven Stanley of Johns Hopkins draws a crucial distinction between two kinds of evolution: gradual, small changes within a species ("microevolution") and sudden, gross changes that mark the emergence of a new species ("macroevolution"). The former is just a specialized case of Darwin's familiar theory of natural selection. The bugs hide deeper in the bark, and the woodpeckers evolve longer beaks to hunt them out. But where Darwin, from observations begun in the Galapagos Islands, concluded that enough small changes would eventually create a new species, the revised theory holds that a new species arises by some different mechanism-perhaps even a gross random mutation in a single generation." (Adler, J. & Carey, J., "Is Man a Subtle Accident?," Newsweek, November 3, 1980, pp.54- 55, p.55) 4/05/01 "Animal and plant species are usually immediately amenable to selective breeding, and breeders detect no evidence of any intrinsic, anti-evolution forces. If anything, selective breeders experience difficulty after a number of generations of successful selective breeding. This is because after some generations of selective breeding the available genetic variation runs out, and we have to wait for new mutations." (Dawkins R., "The Blind Watchmaker," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, p.247) 5/05/01 "THE ORIGIN OF LIFE. ... Perhaps the most fundamental and at the same time the least understood biological problem is the origin of life. It is central to many scientific and philosophical problems and to any consideration of extraterrestrial life. Most of the hypotheses of the origin of life will fall into one of four categories: 1. The origin of life is a result of a supernatural event; that is, one permanently beyond the descriptive powers of physics and chemistry. 2. Life-particularly simple forms-spontaneously and readily arises from nonliving matter in short periods of time, today as in the past. 3. Life is coeternal with matter and has no beginning; life arrived on the Earth at the time of the origin of the earth or shortly thereafter. 4. Life arose on the early Earth by a series of progressive chemical reactions. Such reactions may have been likely or may have required one or more highly improbable chemical events. Hypothesis 1, the traditional contention of theology and some philosophy, is in its most general form not inconsistent with contemporary scientific knowledge, although this knowledge is inconsistent with a literal interpretation of the biblical accounts given in chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis and in other religious writings. Hypothesis 2 (not of course inconsistent with 1) was the prevailing opinion for centuries." (Sagan, C.E., "Life: The origin of life," Encyclopaedia Britannica, Benton: Chicago IL, 15th edition, 1984, Vol. 10, p.900. Emphasis original) 5/05/01 "But the significance of hopeful monsters, if they exist, is that they seem to flout the law of natural selection. They are subject to it in a general sense: better monsters will, over the long run, drive out weaker ones. But the mutation need not represent an advance in fitness; a mutant gene can spread throughout the population even if it carries no particular survival value, as long as it is not markedly harmful. The web-footed salamanders have no obvious advantage over their digited relatives, but they evolved right along anyway. Among hyenas, a mutation has given rise to a species in which the female develops a useless set of male sexual organs. The iron law of Darwinism-that each new species represents an advance in fitness over its predecessor-seems to have been breached." (Adler, J. & Carey, J., "Is Man a Subtle Accident?," Newsweek, November 3, 1980, pp.54-55, p.55) 5/05/01 "It is no wonder that scientists part reluctantly with Darwin. His theory of natural selection was beautiful in its simplicity, and it has served well for over a century. To tamper with it is to raise a host of questions for which there are no answers. The new theory also raises the troubling question of whether man himself is less a product of 3 billion years of competition than a quantum leap into the dark-just another hopeful monster whose star was more benevolent than most." (Adler, J. & Carey, J., "Is Man a Subtle Accident?," Newsweek, November 3, 1980, pp.54-55, p.55) 5/05/01 "Dr. Harold J. Morowitz of Yale University has done extensive research for the National Aviation and Space Agency to discover the theoretical limits for the simplest free-living thing which could duplicate itself, or, technically, the minimal biological entity capable of autonomous self-replication. He took into consideration the minimum operating equipment needed and the space it would require. Also, attention was given to electrical properties and to the hazards of thermal motion. From these important studies, the conclusion is that the smallest such theoretical entity would require 239 or more individual protein molecules. This is not very much simpler than the smallest actually known autonomous living organism, which is the minuscule, bacteria-like Mycoplasma hominis H39. It has around 600 different kinds of proteins. From present scientific knowledge, there is no reason to believe that anything smaller ever existed. We will, however, use the lesser total of 239 protein molecules from Morowitz' theoretical minimal cell, which comprise 124 different kinds. It was noted earlier that there obviously can be no natural selection if there is no way to duplicate all of the necessary parts. In order to account for the left-handed phenomenon, chance alone, unaided by natural selection, would have to arrange at least one complete set of 239 proteins with all-left handed amino acids of the universal 20 kinds. There is reason to believe that all 20 of these were in use from the time of life's origin. ... Going back to the 1052 protein molecules that ever existed according to Dr. Eden, we may divide these into contiguous sets of 239 for such a minimal cell. There are 1049 such sets, rounded. By dividing this figure into 108350, and further dividing by a million to allow for overlapping sets, we arrive at the astounding conclusion that there is, on the average, one chance in 108395 that of all the proteins that ever existed on earth there would be a set of 239 together which were all left-handed, the minimum number required for the smallest theoretical cell." (Coppedge J.F., "Evolution: Possible or Impossible?," , Zondervan, Grand Rapids MI, 1980, Seventh Printing, pp.71-73, 76) 6/05/01 "Darwin's Discovery: Design without Designer ... It was Darwin's greatest accomplishment to show that the directive organization of living beings can be explained as the result of a natural process, natural selection, without any need to resort to a Creator or other external agent. ... Darwin's theory encountered opposition in religious circles, not so much because he proposed the evolutionary origin of living things (which had been proposed many times before, even by Christian theologians), but because his mechanism, natural selection, excluded God as the explanation accounting for the obvious design of organisms." (Ayala F.J., "Darwin's Revolution," in Campbell J.H. & Schopf J.W., eds., "Creative Evolution?!: Proceedings of a symposium sponsored by the Center for the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life at the University of California, Los Angeles, in March, 1993," Jones & Bartlett: London, 1994, pp.4-5) 6/05/01 "Research sponsored by NASA, to enable astronauts to recognize the most rudimentary forms of life, suggested that the simplest kind of living thing would contain at least 124 proteins of 400 amino acids each. A genetic code would be functioning, making sure the organism reproduced true to type. Now that we have learned to build self-replicating robots, we can make some calculations of the magnitude of difficulty in creating a life form even as 'simple' as that. Marcel J. E Golay, from the viewpoint of an engineer, wrote in Analytical Chemistry: `Suppose we wanted to build a machine capable of reaching into bins for all its parts, and capable of assembling from these parts a second machine just like itself. What is the minimum amount of structure or information that should be built into the first machine? The answer comes out to be of the order of 1,500 bits - 1,500 choices between alternatives which the machine should be able to decide. This answer is very suggestive, because 1,500 bits happens to be also of the order of magnitude of the amount of structure contained in the simplest large protein molecule which, immersed in a bath of nutrients, can induce the assembly of those nutrients into another large protein molecule like itself, and then separate itself from it. The problem is that a self-replicating robot has been designed to build copies of itself, whereas the chemical reactions that led to the first living organism must have happened entirely by chance. Yet the odds against such a chance occurrence seem insuperable - by any statistical standards, plain impossible. Golay calculated the odds of his robot reaching into the bin at random and sticking all its component bits and pieces together haphazardly, and then finishing with a perfect copy of itself: there was only one chance in 10450, he said. ... Frank B. Salisbury in American Biology Teacher, using different calculations, concluded that the odds of the chance evolution of a medium-sized protein of 300 amino acids was about one in 10600 - a number 'completely beyond our comprehension.'" (Hitching, F., "The Neck of the Giraffe: Or Where Darwin Went Wrong," Pan: London, 1982, pp.66-67) 7/05/01 "materialism. Basically the view that everything is made of matter. ... All this, however, has had remarkably little overt effect on the various philosophical views that can be dubbed 'materialism', though one might think it shows at least that materialism is not the simple no-nonsense, tough-minded alternative it might once have seemed to be. What actually seems to have happened is that the various materialist philosophies have tended to substitute for `matter' some notion like 'whatever it is that can be studied by the methods of natural science', thus turning materialism into naturalism, though it would be an exaggeration to say the two outlooks have simply coincided." (Lacey, A.R., "materialism," in Honderich, T., ed., "The Oxford Companion to Philosophy," Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1995, p.530) 8/05/01 "If early life was based on RNA, then the first ribozymes must initially have formed abiotically on the early Earth before going on to help form the first lifeforms. Researchers propose that these first RNA sequences must have been produced by the gradual stringing together of individual nucleotide building blocks of RNA that arose naturally in the environment. When this has been attempted in the laboratory, only a few nucleotides have joined together before the RNA chain snaps - far short of the 50 nucleotides that would be needed before a sequence could show any kind of catalytic activity." (Evans, J., "It's alive - isn't it?," Chemistry in Britain, Vol. 36, No. 5, May 2000, pp.44-47, p.46) 8/05/01 "Speculations on the origin of life have, until recently, been purely theoretical. The latest experimental findings, however, are raising more questions than they're answering." (Evans, J., "It's alive - isn't it?," Chemistry in Britain, Vol. 36, No. 5, May 2000, pp.44-47, p.44) 8/05/01 "The question of the date of creation is separate and distinct from the question of the fact of creation. The basic evidences supporting the Creation Model-for example, the laws of thermodynamics, the complex structures of living organisms, the universal gaps between types in both the living world and the fossil record-are all quite independent of the time of creation. Whether the world is ten thousand years old or ten trillion years old, these and other such evidences all point to creation, not to evolution, as the best explanation of origins. Unfortunately, evolutionists commonly confuse the issue, apparently believing that an ancient earth would prove evolution and a young earth would prove creation. The critics of the creation movement commonly focus their attacks not on creation in general, but on recent creation. The fact is, however, that the question of the age of the earth and the universe, while an important question in its own right, is quite independent of the question of creation or evolution, at least as far as the facts of science are concerned. For evolutionists to concentrate their criticisms of creationism mostly on this independent issue is merely an admission of the weakness of evolutionism. On the other hand, the concept of evolution does suggest an old earth. Creationism is free to consider all evidences regarding the earth's age, whether old or young, whereas evolutionism is bound to an old earth." (Morris H.M.* & Parker G.E.*, "What is Creation Science?," , Master Books: El Cajon CA, Revised Edition, 1987, p.253) 8/05/01 "Professor Burke mentions the age of the earth as evidence for evolution. While it is true that evolution demands an immensity of time, and thus any evidence for a young age for the earth or the cosmos would be fatal to evolution theory, evidence that the earth is old would neither prove evolution nor threaten creation. A vast age of the earth is a necessary - but not sufficient - evidence for evolution; and the fact that such a supposition is no threat to creation is self-evident from the fact that many special creationists do believe that the earth is old." (Gish D.T., in Burke D.C., ed., "Creation and Evolution: When Christians Disagree," Inter-Varsity Press: Leicester UK, 1985, pp.193-194) 9/05/01 "One of the most fundamental and perplexing questions in science is how life began. Although some people believe that the origins were extraterrestrial or mystical, the more conventional scientific view is that life developed here on earth: on an earth which is itself derived from the molecules first formed in the period following the big bang." (Richards W.G., "The Problems of Chemistry," Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1986, p.35) 9/05/01 "Natural selection is a bewilderingly simple idea. And yet what it explains is the whole of life, the diversity of life, the complexity of life, the apparent design of life. It all flows from this one remarkably simple idea." (Dawkins R., "Interview," in Campbell, N.A., Reece, J.B. & Mitchell, L.G., "Biology," , Benjamin/Cummings: Menlo Park CA, Fifth Edition, 1999, p.413) 10/05/01 "The vertebrates' conquest of dry land started with the evolution of reptiles from some primitive amphibian form. The amphibians reproduced in the water, and their young were aquatic. The decisive novelty of the reptiles was that, unlike amphibians, they laid their eggs on dry land; they no longer depended on the water and were free to roam over the continents. But the unborn reptile inside the egg still needed an aquatic environment: it had to have water or else it would dry up long before it was born. It also needed a lot of food: amphibians hatch as larvae who fend for themselves, whereas reptiles hatch fully developed. So the reptilian egg had to be provided with a large mass of yolk for food, and also with albumen-the white of egg- to provide the water. Neither the yolk by itself, nor the egg-white itself, would have had any selective value. Moreover, the eggwhite needed a vessel to contain it, otherwise its moisture would have evaporated. So there had to be a shell made of a leathery or limey material, as part of the evolutionary package-deal. But that is not the end of the story The reptilian embryo, because of this shell, could not get rid of its waste products. The soft-shelled amphibian embryo had the whole pond as a lavatory; the reptilian embryo had to be provided with a kind of bladder. It is called the allantois, and is in some respects the forerunner of the mammalian placenta. But this problem having been solved, the embryo would still remain trapped inside its tough shell; it needed a tool to get out. The embryos of some fishes and amphibians, whose eggs are surrounded by a gelatinous membrane, have glands on their snouts: when the time is ripe, they secrete a chemical which dissolves the membrane. But embryos surrounded by a hard shell need a mechanical tool: thus snakes and lizards have a tooth transformed into a kind of tin-opener, while birds have a caruncle-a hard outgrowth near the tip of their beaks which serves the same purpose. ... All this refers to one aspect only of the evolution of reptiles; needless to say, countless other essential transformations of structure and behaviour were required to make the new creatures viable. The changes could have been gradual-but at each step, however small, all the factors involved in the story had to cooperate harmoniously. The liquid store in the egg makes no sense without the shell. The shell would be useless, in fact murderous, without the allantois and without the tin-opener. Each change, taken in isolation, would be harmful, and work against survival. You cannot have a mutation A occurring alone, preserve it by natural selection, and then wait a few thousand or million years until mutation B joins it, and so on, to C and D. Each mutation occurring alone would be wiped out before it could be combined with the others. They are all interdependent. The doctrine that their coming together was due to a series of blind coincidences is an affront not only to commonsense but to the basic principles of scientific explanation." (Koestler A., "The Ghost in the Machine," , Arkana: London, 1989, reprint, p.128) 10/05/01 "This general tendency to eliminate, by means of unverifiable speculations, the limits of the categories Nature presents to us, is the inheritance of biology from The Origin of Species. To establish the continuity required by theory, historical arguments are invoked, even though historical evidence is lacking. Thus are engendered those fragile towers of hypotheses based on hypotheses, where fact and fiction intermingle in an inextricable confusion. That these constructions correspond to a natural appetite, there can be no doubt. It is certain also that in the Origin Darwin established what may be called the classical method of satisfying this appetite. We are beginning to realize now that the method is unsound and the satisfaction illusory. But to understand our own thinking, to see what fallacies we must eradicate in order to establish general biology on a scientific basis, we can still return with profit to the source-book which is The Origin of Species." (Thompson W.R., "Introduction," in Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," , Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 6th Edition, 1967, reprint, p.xxiv) 10/05/01 "It is remarkable to think that only five centuries separates the current skeptical ethos in the West from this profoundly teleological view of reality. The anthropocentric vision of medieval Christianity is one of the most extraordinary-perhaps the most extraordinary-of all the presumptions of humankind. It is the ultimate theory and in a very real sense, the ultimate conceit. No other theory or concept ever imagined by man can equal in boldness and audacity this great claim-that everything revolves around human existence-that all the starry heavens, that every species of life, that every characteristic of reality exists for mankind and for mankind alone. It is simply the most daring idea ever proposed. But most remarkably, given its audacity, it is a claim which is very far from a discredited prescientific myth. In fact, no observation has ever laid the presumption to rest. And today, four centuries after the scientific revolution, the doctrine is again reemerging. In these last decades of the twentieth century, its credibility is being enhanced by discoveries in several branches of fundamental science." (Denton M.J., "Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe," The Free Press: New York NY, 1998, pp.3-4) 11/05/01 "In the unpublished essay of 1844, Darwin personified the selective power of the environment. In language oddly reminiscent of Buffon's contrast between the works of man and the works of nature, Darwin asked his imaginary reader to suppose the existence of: `a Being with penetration sufficient to perceive differences in the outer and innermost organization quite imperceptible to man, and with forethought extending over future centuries to watch with unerring care and select for any object the offspring of an organism produced under the foregoing circumstances, I can see no conceivable reason why he could not form a new race (or several were he to separate the stock of the original organism and work on several islands) adapted to new ends. As we assume his discrimination, and his forethought, and his steadiness of object, to be incomparably greater than those qualities in man, so we may suppose the beauty and complications of the adaptations of the new races and their differences from the original stock to be greater than in the domestic races produced by man's agency .... With time enough, such a Being might rationally (without some unknown law opposed him) aim at almost any result .... Seeing what blind capricious man has actually effected by selection during the few last years, and what in a ruder state he has probably effected without any systematic plan during the last few thousand years, he will be a bold person who will positively put limits to what the supposed Being could effect during whole geological periods'. A striking conception. this idea of a Master Breeder infinitely wise and patient) with infinite time at his disposal, who, carefully selecting from among the variations in nature those which suited his purposes, molded organic nature to his own wise ends. Such a Being could be little less than God Himself." (Greene, J.C., "The Death of Adam: Evolution and its Impact on Western Thought," , Mentor: New York NY, 1961, reprint, pp.261-262. Emphasis Greene's) 11/05/01 "Men talk much of matter and energy, of the struggle for existence that molds the shape of life. These things exist, it is true; but more delicate, elusive, quicker than the fins in water, is that mysterious principle known as "organization," which leaves all other mysteries concerned with life stale and insignificant by comparison. For that without organization life does not persist is obvious. Yet this organization itself is not strictly the product of life, nor of selection. Like some dark and passing shadow within matter, it cups out the eyes' small windows or spaces the notes of a meadow lark's song in the interior of a mottled egg. That principle - I am beginning to suspect-was there before the living in the deeps of water." (Eiseley L.C., "The Flow of the River," in "The Immense Journey," , Vintage: New York NY, 1957, reprint, p.26). 11/05/01 "One important cellular machine that was lagging behind in this structural biology bonanza is the transcription apparatus. This is where the cell decides which genes are to be transcribed into messenger RNA (mRNA), which then serves as an instruction to make proteins. .... What this gene machine does is find the beginning of a gene, locally unwind the DNA double helix to get access to the coding strand, then match RNA building blocks to the DNA ones, fuse them together to form mRNA, and finally separate the mRNA from the DNA so the DNA double helix can form again. All of this happens under the tight control and precise instructions of a plethora of signalling proteins. These so-called transcription factors make sure that each cell only makes those proteins that belong to their own specific repertoire, and which are required at a given time." (Gross, M., "The gene machine," Chemistry in Britain, July 2000. http://www.chemsoc.org/chembytes/ezine/2000/frontiers_jul00.htm) 12/05/01 "Consider the well-known example of industrial melanism in the British peppered moth, Biston betularia. Few high school biology texts fail to mention this study yet few students (and almost no Creationists) seem to understand what it is that this example demonstrates. ... Clearly, environmental pressures, through natural selection, can effect rapid shifts in the genotype of a population. In this case the spontaneously produced variation that proved to be advantageous to the species' survival was a genetic mutation. This is evolution in action, under observation. What it is not (nor was it ever claimed to be despite what one may find in Creationist literature) is an example of the evolution of a new species." (Archer M., "The Reality of Organic Evolution," Selkirk D.R. & F.J. Burrows, eds., "Confronting Creationism: Defending Darwin," New South Wales University Press: Kensington, NSW, Australia, 1988, pp.30-31) 12/05/01 "It is possible, of course, that life did not arise on the earth at all. According to the theory of panspermia, which was popular in the 19th century, life could have been propagated from one solar system to another by the spores of microorganisms. Francis H.C. Crick and Leslie E. Orgel recently made the more venturesome suggestion that the earth, and presumably other sterile planets, might have been deliberately seeded by intelligent beings living in solar systems whose stage of evolution was some billions of years ahead of our own. The process, which Crick and Orgel call directed panspermia, might explain, for example, why molybdenum, which is quite scarce on the earth, is essential for the functioning of many key enzymes. One can neither prove nor disprove theories of panspermia, but they are not really relevant to the inquiry of interest here. The earth is hospitable to the kind of life found on it. If that kind of life did not evolve on the earth. it must surely have evolved on a planetet not drastically different from the earth in its temperature and composition. The question really is: How might life have evolved on an earthlike planet?" (Dickerson R.E., "Chemical Evolution and the Origin of Life," Scientific American, Vol. 239, No. 3, September 1978, p.62) 13/05/01 "There can be no doubt that the difference between the mind of the lowest man and that of the highest animal is immense. An anthropomorphous ape, if he could take a dispassionate view of his own case, would admit that though he could form an artful plan to plunder a garden- though he could use stones for fighting or for breaking open nuts, yet that the thought of fashioning a stone into a tool was quite beyond his scope. Still less, as he would admit, could he follow out a train of metaphysical reasoning, or solve a mathematical problem, or reflect on God, or admire a grand natural scene. Some apes, however, would probably declare that they could and did admire the beauty of the coloured skin and fur of their partners in marriage. They would admit, that though they could make other apes understand by cries some of their perceptions and simpler wants, the notion of expressing definite ideas by definite sounds had never crossed their minds. They might insist that they were ready to aid their fellow- apes of the same troop in many ways, to risk their lives for them, and to take charge of their orphans ; but they would be forced to acknowledge that disinterested love for all living creatures, the most noble attribute of man, was quite beyond their comprehension." (Darwin C.R., "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex," , John Murray: London, Second edition, 1874, Reprinted, 1922, pp.192-193) 13/05/01 "With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.." (Darwin C.R., "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex," , Second edition, 1874, Reprinted, 1922, pp.205-206) 14/05/01 "Even as Pasteur was knocking the pins out from under spontaneous generation, however, the situation was being eased a little bit. In 1859, the English biologist Charles Robert Darwin ... presented exhaustive evidence in favor of an evolutionary theory in which the various species of living things were not separate and distinct from the beginning. Instead, under the pressure of increasing populations and of natural selection, all living things gradually changed; new, and presumably more suitable, species developed from old. In this way, several different species might have a common ancestor and, if one went back far enough, all life on Earth may have developed from a single very primitive ancestral form of life. .... What it meant was that one no longer had to account for the separate creation of each of the millions of species of living things known. Instead, it would be sufficient to account for the creation of any form of life, however simple. This original simple form, produced by spontaneous generation, could then by evolutionary processes give rise to all other forms of life, however complex-even human beings. Of course, if spontaneous generation were really impossible, the production of one form of life was as much a miracle as the production of a million forms." (Asimov I., "Extraterrestrial Civilizations," Crown: New York NY, 1979, p.154) 14/05/01 "Hints of this vast age were already available in the early decades of the twentieth century, and it began to appear that there was enough time for evolution to do its work, if life could somehow start spontaneously. But could that spontaneous start take place? Unfortunately, by the time the extreme age of the Earth came to be understood, the extreme complexity of life also came to be understood, and the chance of spontaneous generation seemed to shrink further. Twentieth century chemists ... found that every protein had to have every one of thousands of different atoms (even millions in some cases) placed just so if it was to do its work properly. .... What's more, different nucleic acids and different proteins, along with smaller molecules of an kinds, intermeshed in complicated chains of reactions. Life, even the apparently simple life of bacteria, was enormously more complicated than had been imagined in the days when the matter of spontaneous generation was being squabbled over. Even the simplest form of life imaginable would have to be built up out of proteins and nucleic acids, and how did those come to be formed out of dead matter? The origin of life on Earth, despite evolution, seemed more than ever a near-miraculous event." (Asimov I., "Extraterrestrial Civilizations," Crown: New York NY, 1979, pp.155-156. Emphasis original) 15/05/01 "A point too often passed over in making hypotheses about the origin of life is that the problem of reproducing the parts of a living organism, once the machinery exists, is quite different from the problem of building the first machine." (Blum H.F., "Time's Arrow and Evolution," , Harper Torchbooks: New York NY, 1962, p.178E) 16/05/01 "True, Darwin is not the last word in science; but neither is Shakespeare the final insight into human nature. He who fails to honor either genius for his positive accomplishments inevitable attracts the speculative psychiatric eye to himself." (Hardin G., "Nature and Man's Fate," Rinehart: New York, 1959, p.249). 16/05/01 "The exact chemical composition of the wall varies from species to species and from one cell type to another in the same plant, but the basic design of the wall is consistent. Microfibrils made of the polysaccharide cellulose are embedded in a matrix of other polysaccharides and protein. This combination of materials, strong fibers in a "ground substance" (matrix), is the same basic architectural design found in steel- reinforced concrete and in fiberglass." (Campbell, N.A., Reece, J.B. & Mitchell, L.G., "Biology," , Benjamin/Cummings: Menlo Park CA, Fifth Edition, 1999, pp.124-125) 16/05/01 "The development or behavior of an individual is purposive; natural selection is definitely not. When MacLeod (1957) stated, "What is most challenging about Darwin, however, is his re-introduction of purpose into the natural world," he chose the wrong word. The word purpose is singularly inapplicable to evolutionary change, which is, after all, what Darwin was considering. If an organism is well adapted, if it shows superior fitness, this is not due to any purpose of its ancestors or of an outside agency, such as "Nature" or "God," that created a superior design or plan. Darwin "has swept out such finalistic teleology by the front door," as Simpson (1960) has rightly said." (Mayr, E.W., "Toward a New Philosophy of Biology: Observations of an Evolutionist," [reprint of Mayr, E.W., "Cause and effect in biology," Science, Vol. 134, 1961, pp.1501-1506], Harvard University Press: Cambridge MA, 1988, p.31) 16/05/01 "In fact, Arrhenius suggested, that was how life on Earth got its start. It was vitalized by spores from space; spores that had originated on some other world that might remain forever unidentified. Several points can be used to argue against this notion. One can calculate how many spores must leave a world in order that even one might have a reasonable chance to meet another world in the course of the lifetime of the Universe, and the amount is preposterously high. Then, too, it is unlikely that spores can survive the trip through space. Bacterial spores are highly resistant to cold, even extreme cold; they might also be expected to survive vacuum. It is doubtful that even the hardiest spores could exist for the length of time it would take to drift from planetary system to planetary system ... spores are very sensitive to ultraviolet light and other hard radiation. .... The radiation from any star anywhere in its ecosphere would be enough to kill wandering spores.... Cosmic-ray particles would kill them even in the depths of space. Arrhenius thought that radiation pressure would propel spores away from a star and through space. ... whatever propels the spore away from a star and toward others in the first place would repel the spore as it approached another star and prevent it from landing on a planet within the ecosphere. All in all, the notion of Earth's having been seeded by spores from other worlds is exceedingly dubious. Besides, of what use is it to explain the origin of life on Earth by calling upon life on other planets for help? One would have then to explain the origin of life on the other planet. And if it could form on any planet by some natural and nonmiraculous means, then it could form on Earth in the same fashion." (Asimov, I., "Extraterrestrial Civilizations," Crown: New York NY, 1979, pp.156- 157) 16/05/01 "Most important, it should be made clear in the classroom that science, including evolution, has not disproved God's existence because it cannot be allowed to consider it (presumably). Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic. Of course the scientist, as an individual, is free to embrace a reality that transcends naturalism." (Todd, Scott C. [Department of Biology, Kansas State University, USA], "A view from Kansas on that evolution debate," Nature, Vol. 401, 30 September 1999, p.423) 17/05/01 "The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an unproved theory-is it then a science or a faith? Belief in the theory of evolution is thus exactly parallel to belief in special creation-both are concepts which believers know to be true but neither, up to the present, has been capable of proof." (Matthews L.H., "Introduction," in Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species," , Everyman's University Library: J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 1972, reprint, p.xi) 17/05/01 "Given that evolution, according to Darwin, was in a continual state of motion, with ongoing but slow and gradual change accruing over long periods of time, it followed logically that the fossil record should be rife with examples of transitional forms leading from the less to the more evolved. Not only had Darwin put these thoughts into words but he had also illustrated them in a diagram that consisted of hypothesized ancestors giving rise over time to hypothesized lineages of descendant organisms. In various places in this diagram, Darwin indicated the extinctions of hypothetical lineages as well as the origins of a multiplicity of species from the same ancestor. In words and in illustration-the only illustration in on the Origin of Species- Darwin breathed new life into the discipline of paleontology which was the only field of study that could provide the scientific world with an actual picture of his view of evolution. Fueled in no small way by the role that paleontology could assume-reconstructing and also demonstrating the course of evolution-the world's leading museums of natural history focused on fossil collecting. ... Now, armed with the possibility of being able to exhibit not just an array of fossils but the drama of evolution itself, museums vied with one another to secure the best fossil localities and discover increasingly older representatives of the lineages of now-extinct animals. .... But when the dust settled, and the fossils were assessed in terms of whether they validated Darwin's evolutionary predictions, a clear picture of slow, gradual evolution, with smooth transitions and transformations from fossils of one period to another, was not forthcoming. Instead of filling in the gaps in the fossil record with so-called missing links, most paleontologists found themselves facing a situation in which there were only gaps in the fossil record, with no evidence of transformational evolutionary intermediates between documented fossil species." (Schwartz, J.H., "Sudden Origins: Fossils, Genes, and the Emergence of Species," John Wiley & Sons: New York NY, 1999, p.89. Ellipses mine) 18/05/01 "If we are unable to convince the skeptic, because of his bad faith or simply because of his negative faith, there is hope that the honest and impartial spectator who has followed the vicissitudes of the struggle will recognize the victor." (Lecomte du NoŁy, P., "Human Destiny," Longmans, Green & Co: New York NY, 1947, Seventeenth Printing, p.xv) 18/05/01 "Some experiments are said to demonstrate evolution in action; those on industrial melanism in moths are a well-known example. Melanic forms are dark-coloured or black individuals normally forming a small minority in a population of comparatively light-coloured moths; in industrial districts where tree-trunks are blackened by soot melanic forms predominate because they are less conspicuous when sitting on a dark background. The experiments show the effects of predation on the survival of the dark and of the normal forms of the Peppered Moth in a clean environment and in one polluted by smoke. The experiments beautifully demonstrate natural selection-or survival of the fittest-in action, but they do not show evolution in progress, for however the populations may alter in their content of light, intermediate or dark forms, all the moths remain from beginning to end Biston betularia." (Matthews L.H., "Introduction," in Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species," , Everyman's University Library: J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 1972, reprint, p.xi) 20/05/01 "To say that a new adaptation necessarily arose through natural selection is an incomplete description, a tautology, and a misrepresentation of natural selection, adaptation, and evolution. Natural selection addresses the problem of the spread of new variants or new adaptations, not their origin. ... Natural selection cannot explain the origin of new variants and adaptations, only their spread." (Endler J.A., "Natural Selection in the Wild," Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ, 1986, pp.46,51. Emphasis in original) 20/05/01 "There are six major gaps in our knowledge and understanding of natural selection: (1) Why does natural selection occur? What are the biological reasons for the process, and what conditions favor natural selection? (2) How does it occur? What are the mechanisms of natural selection? What is the form of the separation line or selection function? (3) What kinds of traits are most likely to be affected by natural selection? (4) What is the effect of simultaneous natural selection on many traits, some of them intercorrelated with each other? What is the effect of genetic interactions among traits? What is the effect of phenotypic (selective) interactions among traits? Is there any limit to the number of traits that affect fitness, and does this vary with habitat? (5) Given that there is known fitness variation, what are the evolutionary dynamics and equilibrium configurations (if any) of the traits? (6) Is there a relationship between the presence of demonstrable natural selection and genera that are currently radiating rapidly?" (Endler J.A., "Natural Selection in the Wild," Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ, 1986, p.247) 21/05/01 "Numerical models work particularly well in astronomy and physics because objects and forces conform to their mathematical definitions so precisely. Mathematical theories are less compelling when applied to more complex phenomena, notably anything in the biological realm. As the evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr of Harvard University has pointed out, each organism is unique; each also changes from moment to moment. That is why biology has resisted mathematicization. Langton, surprisingly, seems to accept the possibility that artificial life might not achieve the rigor of more old-fashioned research. Science, he suggests, may become less "linear" and more "poetic" in the future. "Poetry is a very nonlinear use of language, where the meaning is more than just the sum of the parts," Langton explains. "I just have the feeling that culturally there's going to be more of something like poetry in the future of science." ... A-life may already have achieved this goal, according to the evolutionary biologist John Maynard Smith of the University of Sussex. Smith, who pioneered the use of mathematics in biology, took an early interest in work at the Santa Fe Institute and has twice spent a week visiting there. But he has concluded that artificial life is "basically a fact-free science." During his last visit, he recalls, "the only time a fact was mentioned was when I mentioned it, and that was considered to be in rather bad taste." (Horgan J., "From Complexity to Perplexity," Scientific American, Vol. 272, No. 6, June 1995, p.77) 21/05/01 "To make coacervates in the laboratory requires quite high concentrations of polymers. But primeval ponds contained a decidedly dilute soup of small organic compounds. Hence the dilute small precursors must cross the first concentration gap to react and form polymers. The resultant dilute polymers must cross a second concentration gap to form coacervates. Finally, the coacervates themselves must cope with a most dilute solution of organic compounds to effect further coacervate synthesis. We will face this problem of the concentration gap again and again. Hypothetically, there are ways to circumvent the concentration gap, but they all appear to be more wishful thinking than plausible facets of reality." (Folsome C.E., "The Origin of Life: A Warm Little Pond," W.H. Freeman & Co: San Francisco CA, 1979, pp.83-84) 21/05/01 "Salts such as sodium chloride are also present in ponds. Although primeval ponds contained far fewer salts than our present ocean, salt molecules still far outnumbered organic molecules. As evaporation proceeded, both would be concentrated. Consider some rough calculations. The salt concentration of a pond might be some 1.5 grams per liter (10% of the concentration of today's oceans), and amino acid concentration of all some 20-odd, might be about 200 millionths of a gram per liter. The ratio of salt molecules to amino acid molecules is thus some 10,000 to 1. To focus on the synthesis of a random protein we imagine a chance collision of one amino acid with another. The problem is that 10,000 times more frequently, the amino acid collides with a salt molecules. The above example also ignores the fact that amino acids are but one subset of an entire nonvolatile suite of organic compounds present in the evaporating pool. Thus, our amino acid would be colliding with and reacting with other dissimilar organic compounds as well as with salt molecules far more frequently than with other amino acids. Even worse, as the pool evaporated, solar ultraviolet radiation would become a factor, degrading quite rapidly whatever was concentrated. Under special circumstances concentration does work in the laboratory, but creating coacervates in the real world is quite another matter." (Folsome C.E., "The Origin of Life: A Warm Little Pond," W.H. Freeman & Co: San Francisco CA, 1979, pp.84-85) 22/05/01 "Proteinoid microspheres are easy to prepare - it's done in many high school laboratories. All that is necessary is to heat a chunk of lava with a gas burner, throw a spoonful of dry L or D amino acids on the hot lava, and wash resultant proteinoids off the lava with a cup of water. The central question is where did all those pure, dry, concentrated and optically active amino acids come from in the real, abiological world? A further problem arises when we consider the nature of proteinoid microsphere boundaries. Cells possess a lipoprotein membrane, which is gossamer-thin and slowly Permeable to many small molecules by diffusion. Proteinoid microspores have a boundary made of grossly thick layers upon layers of partly hydrophobic proteins. This later is so thick that it resembles a near-impermeable cell wall or spore coat more closely than a cell membrane." (Folsome C.E., "The Origin of Life: A Warm Little Pond," W.H. Freeman & Co: San Francisco CA, 1979, pp.85,87) 22/05/01 "The problem of how eyes have developed has presented a major challenge to the Darwinian theory of evolution by Natural Selection. We can make many entirely useless experimental models when designing a new instrument, but this was impossible for Natural Selection, for each step must confer some advantage upon its owner, to be selected and transmitted through the generations. But what use is a half-made lens? What use is a lens giving an image, if there is no nervous system to interpret the information ? How could a visual nervous system come about before there was an eye to give it information ? In evolution there can be no master plan, no looking ahead to form structures which, though useless now, will come to have importance when other structures are sufficiently developed. And yet the human eye and brain have come about through slow painful trial and error." (Gregory R.L., "Eye and Brain: The Psychology of Seeing," , Weidenfeld & Nicolson: London, Second edition, 1972, p.25) 24/05/01 "Instead of being the product of an evolutionary trend throughout the Old World, modern humans are seen in the alternative model as having arisen in a single geographical location. Bands of modern Homo sapiens would have migrated from this location and expanded into the rest of the Old World, replacing existing premodern populations. This model has had several labels, such as the "Noah's Ark" hypothesis and the "Garden of Eden" hypothesis. Most recently, it has been called the "Out of Africa" hypothesis, because sub-Saharan Africa has been identified as the most likely place where the first modern humans evolved. Several anthropologists have contributed to this view, and Christopher Stringer, of the Natural History Museum, London, is its most vigorous proponent. The two models could hardly be more different: the multiregional-evolution model describes an evolutionary trend throughout the Old World toward modern Homo sapiens, with little population migration and no population replacement, whereas the "Out of Africa" model calls for the evolution of Homo sapiens in one location only, followed by extensive population migration across the Old World, resulting in the replacement of existing premodern populations. Moreover, in the first model, modern geographical populations (what are known as "races") would have deep genetic roots, having been essentially separate for as much as 2 million years; in the second model, these populations would have shallow genetic roots, all having derived from the single, recently evolved population in Africa." (Leakey R.E., "The Origin of Humankind," , Phoenix: London, 1995, reprint, pp.86-88) 24/05/01 "In my opinion, the great mystery about the origin of life is where the biological information came from in the first place. That is the crux of the matter, not the complicated chemistry and how it came into being. We won't find the secret of life in the laws of chemistry. The biological information must have come from our environment, of course, but how did it concentrate, how did it go on accumulating, in molecules, to the extent that we would call them living?" (Davies P.C.W. & Adams P., "More Big Questions," ABC Books: Sydney, Australia, 1998, p.54) 26/05/01 "It's a mistake to suppose that there is a sort of road, with life as its destination, along which a chemical mixture is inexorably conveyed by the passage of time. It isn't just a matter of carrying on doing more of the same, with the amino acids obligingly assembling themselves into proteins and the proteins joining up with nucleic acids, and so on, to eventually make a living thing. It isn't a one-way street like that, and the reason is very basic. Making amino acids is what a physicist would call 'thermodynamically downhill', which means it is a natural process that occurs automatically, like crystallisation. But hooking the amino acids together into long chains to make proteins goes the other way. That is an 'uphill'-a statistically more difficult or unlikely-process. Let me give you an analogy. It's a little bit like going for a walk in the countryside, coming across a pile of bricks and assuming that there will be a house around the corner. There is a big difference between a pile of bricks and a house. Now part of the problem here is that attaching the amino acids together to make proteins costs energy. True, there was no lack of energy on the young Earth, but the problem is not energy per se. Rather, it is how this energy organised itself in such a way as to produce this extremely elaborate thing called a protein." (Davies P.C.W. & Adams P., "More Big Questions," ABC Books: Sydney, Australia, 1998, pp.47-48) 26/05/01 "Now that the reader has been warned against certain errors, which have their source in the human brain, we can examine the methods used by the mind to describe the universe and to foresee future events. This study is indispensable, as we expect to base our arguments on scientific methods and on mathematical reasoning to demonstrate that they both lead to the necessity of admitting the intervention of a transcendent, extra- earthly force in order to explain Life." (Lecomte du NoŁy, P., "Human Destiny," Longmans, Green & Co: New York NY, 1947, Seventeenth Printing, p.12) 27/05/01 "In fact, the most obvious structural characteristics of either the eggs or the cleavage stages of a shark, a salmon, a frog, a bird, or a mammal are unique each to its own class, not generally shared. We would not consider them very much alike unless we had been taught so at a very early age. Very few vertebrates pass through a stage which can strictly be called a blastula. The embryo in its period of most active morphogenetic movements is usually called a gastrula, but as all agree this word has no morphologic meaning anymore. Each class of vertebrates (in mammals we might almost say each particular order) develops and then loses its own set of temporary structures-like the parade ground "formations of maneuver"-during this period." (Ballard W.W., "Problems of Gastrulation: Real and verbal," BioScience, Vol. 26, No. 1., January 1976, pp.36-39, p.38) 28/05/01 "The doctrine of 'scientism' - with its implied belief in the omnicompetence of science - has been steadily gaining ground in our culture throughout this century. ... The territory claimed here is not just that of the religions. It is the whole area of organised and everyday thought. And science, as a claimant for that territory, means essentially just physical science. Though the doctrine is sometimes expanded to include technology and social science, these extensions are foreign to it. This seductive promise of universal explanation is something new. It outbids the explanatory offers of any religion, both in scope and certainty. The religions habitually admit, indeed claim, that they deal in matters not fully knowable by human beings, whereas science now seems able to offer fully reasoned proof for all answers to all possible questions. People today are far more vulnerable to such offers than they were a century ago, because the world has become so confusing. In today's desperate muddles, people long for a map, a clear world picture." (Midgley M., "Can Science Save Its Soul?," New Scientist, Vol 135, No. 1832, 1 August 1992, p.24-27, p.24) 28/05/01 "Thus, the energy of investigators and particularly students is diverted into the essentially fruitless 19th century activity of bending the facts of nature to support second-rate generalities of no predictive value. Though enthusiasm for Haeckel's (1900) recapitulation "law" died out, unfortunately the popularity of Von Baer's "laws" of 1828 was renewed. In order to defend the latter's descriptive statements that general characters appear before special characters as an egg develops and that the less general and finally the specific characters trail along later, we have to decide intuitively that certain characters are of "morphological significance" and others are not. When referring to vertebrates, we have to use words like blastula and gastrula in such a way as to imply that things that are vastly different from each other are really very much the same." (Ballard W.W., "Problems of Gastrulation: Real and verbal," BioScience, Vol. 26, No. 1., January 1976, pp.36- 39, p.38) 28/05/01 "The writer is not naive enough to think that this discussion will convince any materialist. People who have a faith cannot be convinced by mere words and logic. Men with an irrational faith - and we hope that we have made it clear that such is their case - do not yield to rational arguments because words do not have the same meaning for us and for them. we talk about moral and spiritual values to which we attribute a greater reality with respect to man than to the electron, while they do not even admit the existence of such values and firmly believe in a material world which we consider only as a pretext. ... Our aim in discussing the mechanistic attitude toward evolution and liberty, or free will, was to show that the materialist, who boasts about his strict and scientific rationalism, is not infallible in his own trade. He is not likely of course to advertise his errors or his conflicts but it must be known that he is no longer qualified to claim strict rational thinking and scientific facts as the basic foundation of his creed." (Lecomte du NoŁy, P., "Human Destiny," Longmans, Green & Co: New York NY, 1947, Seventeenth Printing, p.51) 31/05/01 "Embryology and paleontology provide adequate documentation of the `how,' but we would also like more insight into the `why.' In particular, why should such a transition occur-especially since the single-boned stapedial ear seems to function quite adequately (and, at least in some birds, every bit as well as the three- boned mammalian ear)?" (Gould, S.J., "An Earful of Jaw," "Eight Little Piggies: Reflections in Natural History," Jonathan Cape: London UK, 1993, p.106) 31/05/01 "After describing the last part of this process, the adaptation of the bones linking the jaw to the skull into a chain of ossicles linking the eardrum to the inner ear, Ernst Mayr sweepingly remarks: 'Not all the steps in this process are yet entirely apparent, but I think little doubt is left as to the principle involved.' [Mayr E.W., "Evolution and the Diversity of Life," Belknap: Cambridge MA, 1976, p.108] If by 'principle' one means merely progressive remodelling, the statement is a truism. But if 'principle' means that chance selection brought about these elaborate changes, then there must be very great doubt indeed. Like de Beer, Mayr does not seem to appreciate the elementary point that demonstrating the occurrence of a sequence of events does not explain why they happened." (Taylor, G.R., "The Great Evolution Mystery," , Abacus: London, 1984, reprint, p.106) 31/05/01 "Unfortunately, the greater part of the fundamental types in the animal realm are disconnected from a paleontological point of view. In spite of the fact that it is undeniably related to the two classes of reptiles and birds (a relation which the anatomy and physiology of actually living specimens demonstrates), we are not even authorized to consider the exceptional case of the Archaeopteryx as a true link. By link, we mean a necessary stage of transition between classes such as reptiles and birds, or between smaller groups. An animal displaying characters belonging to two different groups cannot be treated as a true link as long as the intermediary stages have not been found, and as long as the mechanisms of transition remain unknown." (Lecomte du NoŁy, P., "Human Destiny," Longmans, Green & Co: New York NY, 1947, Seventeenth Printing, pp.71-72) June [top] 02/06/01 "Natural selection is free of tautology in any formulation that recognizes the causal interaction between the organism and its environment, but most recent critics have already understood this and are actually arguing that the theory is not falsifiable in its operational form. Under examination, the operational forms of the concepts of adaptation and fitness turn out to be too indeterminate to be seriously tested, for they are protected by ad hoc additions drawn from an indeterminate realm. Future knowledge may reduce the organism to a determinate system, but until such time too little is known to investigate organism- environment relations. Researchers should consider whether natural selection is necessary to empiric investigation in their area, and whether it can serve the purpose for which it is applied." (Brady R.H., "Natural selection and the criteria by which a theory is judged," Systematic Zoology, Vol. 28, 1979, pp.600- 621, p.600) 03/06/01 "Assuming homogeneous preservation, even under pessimistic assumptions regarding the completeness of the fossil record, the probability of finding fossil ancestor-descendant pairs is not negligible. Even if all species of Phanerozoic marine invertebrates in the paleontologically important taxa had the same probability of preservation, on the order of 1%-10% or more of the known fossil species would be directly ancestral to other known fossil species. However, this is likely to be an underestimate, since the probability of finding ancestor-descendant pairs is enhanced by taxonomic, temporal, and spatial heterogeneities in preservation- probability. Moreover, indirect genealogical relationships substantially increase the probability of finding ancestor-descendant pairs. The model of budding, the only one in which an ancestor can persist after a branching event, predicts that half or more of extant species have ancestors that are also extant. Thus, the question of how to recognize ancestor-descendant pairs must be carefully considered." (Foote M., "On the probability of ancestors in the fossil record," Paleobiology, Vol. 22, No. 2,1996, pp.141-151, p.141) 03/06/01 "In a somewhat different approach, J.D. Bernal proposed that the key to formation of polymers from small organic molecules is their adsorption, activation, and polymerization upon clays. Many different kinds of clay do indeed adsorb amino acids, nucleic acid bases, and sugars quite efficiently and selectively. In this model, clays circumvent the concentration gap somewhat, leading to high local concentrations of random biological-like polymers. At a later stage these polymers are assumed to self-assemble into protocells; and again, a primitive protocell population serves as a base from which those with synthetic and metabolic activity can be selected. One problem with clays is that materials upon them tend to be subject to ultraviolet radiation degradation. In addition, many polymeric materials are adsorbed more strongly than are small molecules and would not be available for further reactions." (Folsome C.E., "The Origin of Life: A Warm Little Pond," W.H. Freeman & Co: San Francisco CA, 1979, p.87) 03/06/01 "For a century and a half the geological world has been dominated, one might even say brain-washed, by the gradualistic uniformitarianism of Charles Lyell. Any suggestion of 'catastrophic' events has been rejected as old-fashioned, unscientific and even laughable. ... My thesis is that in all branches of geology there has been a return the ideas of rare violent happenings and episodicity. So the past, as now interpreted by many geologists, is not what it used to be. It has certainly changed a great deal from what I learned about it in those far-off day when I was a student." (Ager, D.V., "The New Catastrophism: The Importance of the Rare Event in Geological History," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1993, pp.xi-xii) 03/06/01 "Since tautology is fatal for any sort of causal explanation, it is somewhat mysterious to find a number of authors advancing an admittedly tautologous formulation of natural selection. Waddington, for example, published the following passage in 1960: `Natural selection, which was at first considered was though it were a hypothesis that was in need of experimental or observational confirmation, it turns out on closer inspection to be a tautology, a statement of an inevitable although previously unrecognized relation. It states that the fittest individuals in a population (defined as those which leave the most offspring) will leave the most offspring. Once the statement is made, its truth is apparent. This fact in no way reduces the magnitude of Darwin's achievement, only after it was clearly formulated, could biologists realize the by enormous power of the principle as a weapon of explanation.' [Waddington, C. H. 1960. "Evolutionary adaptations." In Tax, S., ed., "The evolution of life". University of Chicago Press, p. 385.] Macbeth (1971) found this passage "staggering." It is even more astonishing to reflect that Macbeth's reaction was not common one. The passage above defines fitness as leaving the most offspring. It then states that the fittest individuals will leave the most offspring, and it calls this statement `a weapon of explanation.'" (Brady, R.H., "Natural selection and the criteria by which a theory is judged," Systematic Zoology, Vol. 28, 1979, pp.600-621, p.603. Emphasis original) 03/06/01 "What Darwin could not have predicted was that a century after the publication of his On the Origin of Species, biologists would begin to use molecules such as proteins and DNA to uncover the shape of the tree of life. This approach has taken the biological stage by storm, and has produced many surprising results. Consider some of the announcements made during 1997 alone. The elephant shrew, consigned by traditional analysis to the order insectivores (which includes moles and hedgehogs), is in fact more closely related to its behemoth namesake, the true elephant. Cows are more closely related to dolphins than they are to horses. The duckbilled platypus, an egg-laying mammal from Australia, does not represent the most primitive form of mammal after all, but is on an equal evolutionary footing with those marsupial mammals from Australia, kangaroos and koalas. And forget examining the shape of seedlings in flowering plants to seek out their evolutionary history: molecular evidence shows that the microscopic form of pollen grains gives the best clues. But who cares about the true relatives of elephant shrews? Let cows take a dive in the ocean, if that's where their roots are. And platypuses are just cute, no matter who their closest cousin is. Flowers, well, their place is in a vase, isn't it, not at the centre of a debate over the tree of life. Maybe. But, if these results and countless others like them are correct, it means that what Darwin had in mind, and what biologists have been doing for more than a century, was misguided at best and at worst a waste of time." (Lewin, Roger [biochemist, former editor of New Scientist and science writer], "Family feuds," New Scientist, Vol. 157, No. 2118, 24 January 1998, pp.36-40, p.36) 04/06/01 "Some of the underlying emotional reasons for rejecting natural selection were later vividly expressed by the playwright George Bernard Shaw: `[T]he Darwinian process may be described as a chapter of accidents. As such, it seems simple, because you do not at first realize all that it involves. But when its whole significance dawns on you, your heart sinks into a heap of sand within you. There is a hideous fatalism about it, a ghastly and damnable reduction of beauty and intelligence, of strength and purpose, of honor and aspiration, to such casually picturesque changes as an avalanche may make in landscape, or a railway accident in a human figure. To call this Natural Selection is a blasphemy, possible to many for whom Nature is nothing but a casual aggregation of inert and dead matter, but eternally impossible to the spirits and souls of the righteous ... if this sort of selection could turn an antelope into a giraffe, it could conceivably turn a pond full of amoebas into the French academy. ... George Bernard Shaw, Back to Methusaleh: A Metabiological Pentateuch (New York: Brentano's, 1929), p. xlvi. The last sentence is in fact the modern evolutionary point of view." (Sagan, C.E. & Druyan, A., "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: A Search for Who We Are," Arrow: London, 1992, Reprinted, 1993, pp.63-64, 428n) 04/06/01 "The overall effect is that molecular phylogenetics is by no means as straightforward as its pioneers believed. For a start, convergent evolution is common. In 1995, Michael Donoghue and Michael Sanderson of Harvard University combed through data from 42 studies of morphological phylogenetics and 18 studies of molecular phylogenetics. They found that the levels of convergent evolution were similar. One reason is because some segments of a gene are highly susceptible to mutation, so the chances of identical mutations in two separate species is much higher than if mutations were equally distributed over the whole gene. The Byzantine dynamics of genome change has many other consequences for molecular phylogenetics, including the fact that different genes tell different stories." (Lewin, Roger [biochemist, former editor of New Scientist and science writer], "Family feuds," New Scientist, Vol. 157, No. 2118, 24 January 1998, pp.36-40, p.39) 05/06/01 "One characteristic feature of the above critique needs to be emphasized. We have not simply picked out a number of details within chemical evolution theory that are weak, or without adequate explanation for the moment. For the most part this critique is based on crucial weaknesses intrinsic to the theory itself. Often it is contended that criticism focuses on present ignorance "Give us more time to solve the problems," is the plea. After all, the pursuit of abiogenesis is young as a scientific enterprise. It will be claimed that many of these problems are mere state-of-the-art gaps. And, surely some of them are. Notice, however, that the sharp edge of this critique is not what we do not know, but what we do know. Many facts have come to light in the past three decades of experimental inquiry into life's beginning. With each passing year the criticism has gotten stronger. The advance of science itself is what is challenging the nation that life arose on earth by spontaneous (in a thermodynamic sense) chemical reactions." (Thaxton C.B., Bradley W.L. & Olsen R.L., "The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories," , Lewis & Stanley: Dallas TX, 1992, Second Printing, p.185. Emphasis in original.) 05/06/01 "Organisms fit remarkably well into the external world in which they live. They have morphologies, physiologies and behaviors that appear to have been carefully and artfully designed to enable each organism to appropriate the world around it for its own life. It was the marvelous fit of organisms to the environment, much more than the great diversity of forms, that was the chief evidence of a Supreme Designer. Darwin realized that if a naturalistic theory of evolution was to be successful, it would have to explain the apparent perfection of organisms and not simply their variation. At the very beginning of the Origin of Species he wrote: `In considering the Origin of Species. it is quite conceivable that a naturalist ... might come to the conclusion that each species ... had descended, like varieties, from other species. Nevertheless. such a conclusion, even if well founded. would be unsatisfactory, until it could be shown how the innumerable species inhabiting this world have been modified, so as to acquire that perfection of structure and coadaptation which most justly excites our admiration." (Lewontin R.C., "Adaptation," Scientific American, September 1978, Vol. 239, No. 3, pp.157-158. Ellipses Lewontin's) 06/06/01 "The Humanitarians were not alone among the agitators in their welcome to Darwin. He had the luck to please everybody who had an axe to grind. The Militarists were as enthusiastic as the Humanitarians, the Socialists as the Capitalists. The Socialists were specially encouraged by Darwin's insistence on the influence of environment. Perhaps the strongest moral bulwark of Capitalism Is the belief in the efficacy of individual righteousness. .... There was no more effective retort to the Socialist than to tell him to reform himself before he pretends to reform society. If you were rich, how pleasant it was to feel that you owed your riches to the superiority of your own character! The industrial revolution had turned numbers of greedy dullards into monstrously rich men. Nothing could be more humiliating and threatening to them than the view that the falling of a shower of gold into their pockets was as pure an accident as the falling of a shower of hail on their umbrellas, and happened alike to the just and unjust. Nothing could be more flattering and fortifying to them than the assumption that they were rich because they were virtuous. Now Darwinism made a clean sweep of all such self-righteousness." (Shaw G.B., "Back To Methuselah: A Metabiological Pentateuch," , Penguin Books: Harmondsworth Middlesex UK, 1939, p.xlv) 07/06/01 "The camel and the llama are two closely related species with different habitats, the camel living in the plains and the llama high up in the Andes. The camel has a hemoglobin with an oxygen affinity that is normal for an animal of its size, but because of a single mutation in the gene coding for one of the two globin chains that make up the hemoglobin molecule, the llama has a hemoglobin with an unusually high oxygen affinity. That variant hemoglobin helps the llama to breathe in the rarified mountain air. The Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin pointed out to me that this mutation is likely to have occurred before llamas discovered that they were able to graze at altitudes barred to competing species. In other words, a mutation adapting a species to a new environment is likely to have preceded occupation of that environment." (Perutz M.F., "Is Science Necessary?: Essays on Science and Scientists," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1991, reprint, p.220. Emphasis in original) 08/06/01 "Darwinian orthodoxy demands implicit faith in the efficacy of natural selection operating on chance mutations. Subscribe to this and all doubts and hesitations disappear; question it and be forever lost. The case for orthodoxy can seldom have been stated with greater cogency and enthusiasm than by Dr. Julian Huxley in "Evolution in Action". A few readers, perhaps rather pagan in their outlook, may think it a little strange that, if the case is quite so strong as they are asked to believe, it should still be necessary to argue the merits of natural selection with almost evangelistic vigour." (Gray, Sir James [late Professor of Zoology, Cambridge University], "The Case for Natural Selection." Review of "Evolution in Action," by Julian Huxley, Chatto & Windus: London, 1953, in Nature, Vol. 173, No. 4397, February 6, 1954, p.227) 09/06/01 "A century is a fantastically short period of cosmic time, and all sorts of queer, exciting and improbable things may happen in five hundred million years; so, if we accept 'possibility' as a basis for scientific thought, why worry? Dr. Huxley admits quite frankly: "No one would bet on anything so improbable happening; and yet it has happened. It has happened thanks to the workings of Natural Selection and the properties of living substance which make Natural Selection inevitable". What more can be said, except possibly to suggest that there may be a slight difference between something that 'has happened' and one which 'may have happened'." (Gray, Sir James [late Professor of Zoology, Cambridge University], "The Case for Natural Selection." Review of "Evolution in Action," by Julian Huxley, Chatto & Windus: London, 1953, in Nature, Vol. 173, No. 4397, February 6, 1954, p.227. Emphasis original) 09/06/01 "On one point all biologists are agreed: the basic concept of organic evolution has, for a century, stood unrivalled as a contribution to biological thought. As a working hypothesis it opened up and exploited vast new fields of paleontological, anatomical and embryological inquiry. The status of natural selection is not quite so high. True, it is the only theory we have; but when judged as a working hypothesis it is disappointing to find so little advance in a hundred years." (Gray, Sir James [late Professor of Zoology, Cambridge University], "The Case for Natural Selection." Review of "Evolution in Action," by Julian Huxley, Chatto & Windus: London, 1953, in Nature, Vol. 173, No. 4397, February 6, 1954, p.227) 11/06/01 "Bacteria swim by means of flagella that are completely different from the flagella of eucaryotic cells. The bacterial flagellum consists of a helical tube formed from a single type of protein subunit, called flagellin. Each flagellum is attached by a short flexible hook at its base to a small protein disc embedded in the bacterial membrane. Incredible though it may seem, this disc is part of a tiny "motor" that uses the energy stored in the transmembrane H+ gradient to rotate rapidly and turn the helical flagellum (Figure 15-61). ... Figure 15-61 Schematic drawing of the bacterial flagellar motor. The flagellum is linked to a flexible hook. The hook is attached to a series of protein rings (shown in red), which are embedded in the outer and inner (plasma) membranes and rotate with the flagellum at about 150 revolutions per second. The rotation is thought to be driven by a flow of protons through an outer ring of proteins (the stators which also contains the proteins responsible for switching the direction of rotation." (Alberts B., et al., "Molecular Biology of the Cell," , Garland: New York NY, Third Edition, 1994, p.774) 11/06/01 "These similarities among creoles seem likely to stem from a genetic blueprint that the human brain possesses for learning language during childhood. Such a blueprint has been widely assumed ever since the linguist Noam Chomsky argued that the structure of human language is far too complex for a child to learn within just a few years, in the absence of any hard-wired instructions. For example, at the age of two my twin sons were just beginning to use single words. As I write this paragraph a bare twenty months later, still several months short of their fourth birthday, they have already mastered most of the rules of basic English grammar that people who immigrate to English-speaking countries as adults often fail to master after decades. Even before the age of two, my children had learned to make sense of the initially incomprehensible babble of adult sound coming at them, to recognize groupings of syllables into words, and to realize which groupings constituted underlying words despite variations of pronunciation within and between adult speakers. Such difficulties convinced Chomsky that children learning their first language would face an impossible task unless much of language's structure were already pre-programmed into them. Hence Chomsky reasoned that we are born with a 'universal grammar' already wired into our brains to give us a spectrum of grammatical models encompassing the range of grammars in actual languages. This pre- wired universal grammar would be like a set of switches, each with various alternative positions. The switch positions would then become fixed to match the grammar of the local language that the growing child hears." (Diamond J.M., "The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee," , Vintage: London, 1992, p.145) 12/06/01 "A second class of objections relates to the difficulty of imagining functional intermediate stages in the development of a character such as the electric organ of a fish, or rather similarly, to the acquisition of organs of "extreme perfection" such as the vertebrate eye. In general, specific difficulties like these tend to diminish as comparative studies progress and advantageous (functional) intermediate stages are discovered. Moreover, as Fisher has pointed out, evolutionists could not explain the production of complex organs except by postulating natural selection, for the probability of all the necessary modifications appearing initially in one organism (except by special creation) is virtually zero. It is only their gradual accumulation as the result of natural selection, which increases sufficiently the probability of their appearing in the same individual that make it possible for highly integrated systems to be evolved." (Berry R.J., "Teach Yourself Genetics," The English Universities Press: London, 1965, p.116) 12/06/01 "No amount of argument, or clever epigram, can disguise the inherent improbability of orthodox theory; but most biologists feel it is better to think in terms of improbable events than not to think at all; there will always be a few who feel in their bones a sneaking sympathy with Samuel Butler's scepticism: "... there must have been a little cheating somewhere with these accidental variations [mutations] before the eagle could have become so great a winner". How far the heathen will be converted by Dr. Huxley is difficult to say." (Gray, Sir James [late Professor of Zoology, Cambridge University], "The Case for Natural Selection." Review of "Evolution in Action," by Julian Huxley, Chatto & Windus: London, 1953, in Nature, Vol. 173, No. 4397, February 6, 1954, p.227) 12/06/01 "The more perfect a structure is, the more certain that any random tinkering will be harmful. Even if a piano factory had a very large output of pianos, it could not tune them by giving a monkey a wrench and letting it play with the pegs that hold the strings tight, discarding any instrument untuned. The more exact is the tuning needed, the larger is the proportion that would have to be junked; rarely indeed would the monkey improve a well-tuned instrument. Moreover, junking pianos made nonfunctional would not suffice. If the monkeys jiggered the posts a bit but not enough for the instruments to be discarded, all pianos would become slightly or eventually seriously untuned. That is, the organ would degenerate. This analogy falls short of reality because the well-fashioned eye, for example, is more than a single instrument. It has coordinated systems for tracking, focusing, light control, light registration color perception, and incipient image formation, all of which can and do sometimes go wrong. An additional complication is that genes have multiple effects, and it is always possible that a gene needed elsewhere may have negative consequences for the eye. It would seem difficult for simple selection to maintain the detailed structure of large gene control networks such as must be responsible for such an intricately integrated organ as the eye, unless the pattern is somehow self-regulatory. Random changes would overwhelm a rather large selection rate, limiting the number of genes that can be maintained as a group (Winstatt and Schank 1988, 239-250). A combination of many genes would be vulnerable to deleterious mutations disturbing the delicate harmony if the structure did not have great powers of repairing mistakes." (Wesson R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1994, reprint, p.81) 12/06/01 "The thought that the relation between mind and the world is something fundamental makes many people in this day and age nervous. I believe this is one manifestation of a fear of religion which has large and often pernicious consequences for modern intellectual life. In speaking of the fear of religion, I don't mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper-namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn't just that I don't believe in God and, naturally, hope that I'm right in my belief. It's that I hope there is no God! I don't want there to be a God; I don't want the universe to be like that." (Nagel, T., "The Last Word," Oxford University Press: New York NY, 1997, p.130) 13/06/01 "The theory of natural selection implies the survival of organisms possessing functional advantages over their predecessors or rivals. Strange as it may seem, one immediate effect of the "Origin" was a marked recession in the study of animal function. There was, and still is, a tendency for morphologists to ascribe to organs and structures functional significance for which there was, or is, little observational evidence. In this respect "Evolution in Action" is by no means guiltless; it goes a considerable way beyond the physiological facts. Is Dr. Huxley quite sure that the loss of the lateral digits by the ancestors of the horse gave them an "additional turn of speed"?" (Gray, Sir James [late Professor of Zoology, Cambridge University], "The Case for Natural Selection." Review of "Evolution in Action," by Julian Huxley, Chatto & Windus: London, 1953, in Nature, Vol. 173, No. 4397, February 6, 1954, p.227) 14/06/01 "Some scientists say, just throw energy at it and it will happen spontaneously. That is a little bit like saying: put a stick of dynamite under the pile of bricks, and bang, you've got a house! Of course you won't have a house, you'll just have a mess. The difficulty in trying to explain the origin of life is in accounting for how the elaborate organisational structure of these complex molecules came into existence spontaneously from a random input of energy. How did these very specific complex molecules assemble themselves? ... You can say that if you replay the scenario often enough on enough planets, and you wait long enough, sooner or later, just by chance, the right molecular combination will occur. The argument is absolutely correct. Chance will work miracles given enough time. However, when you put the numbers in you find, to your absolute horror, that you could wait almost forever just to get a single protein. The odd:, of shuffling amino acids at random into just one short protein are one in 10130 -that's a one followed by 130 zeros!" (Davies P.C.W. & Adams P., "More Big Questions," ABC Books: Sydney, Australia, 1998, pp.48-49) 15/06/01 "[Gen.] 6.14 Noah's ark probably was about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and was divided into three stories of about 15 feet each. The task of building the ark, gathering the animals, and storing the food was tremendous. It may well have taken the labors of many more people than the immediate Noahic family. The ark itself was constructed of gopher wood and covered with pitch. How many animals it could have accommodated cannot be determined accurately although it has been estimated that there was room for 7000. In the New Testament the ark is regarded as a type of Christ who serves as a place of refuge for the redeemed (cf. 1 Pet 3.20, 21). 6.17 There are three views generally hold about the extent of the flood: t was geographically and ethnologically universal (all land was covered and all life died); (2) it was geographically local but ethnologically universal (not all land was covered but all life died; (3) it was geographically and ethnologically local (not all land was covered and not all life died). Extrabiblical evidence appears to be against a universal flood. The genealogies of chapter 10 make no reference to the Negroid and Mongoloid races, which leads one te suppose that these races were not included in the flood." (Lindsell H., ed., "Harper Study Bible," Revised Standard Version, , Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 1965, Nineteenth Printing, p.14) 15/06/01 "There is one that I like quite a lot, which is a comparison between flying a kite and flying a radio-controlled plane. A kite is literally hardwired to the controller on the ground. By contrast, a radio-controlled plane has an informational channel. How does the plane perform its aerobatics? You push and pull some levers, and these signals are encoded into electromagnetic pulses. That information is then sent up to the plane and decoded. Note that the radio waves themselves don't push and pull the plane around. The signals encoded in the radio waves merely harness other forces and liberate them to do the job. So the radio channel plays the role of an informational channel rather than a physical push-pull link. What has all this to do with life? As we know it, life is based on a kind of deal struck between two very different classes of molecules. One of these are the nucleic acids, which contain the genetic information encoded in the sequence of their atoms. These molecules can't do very much. It is the proteins, the other class of molecules, that are the real workers in biology. But both types of molecules need the other: the nucleic acids on their own are helpless; the proteins on their own are also helpless. ... This is the ultimate chicken-and-egg problem. The great mystery about the origin of life is, which came first: chicken or egg? Was it the nucleic acids or the proteins? That is the traditional biochemical mystery." (Davies P.C.W. & Adams P., "More Big Questions," ABC Books: Sydney, Australia, 1998, pp.55-56) 15/06/01 "When I give public lectures and talk about the universe and all the stars and planets and so on, someone from the audience will often comment at the end: 'The universe is so vast, there are so many stars out there, so many planets, it would be absurd to suppose that we are alone. There must be life on one of those planets somewhere.' But that is simply not true! The reasoning is wrong. When you look at the numbers we have just been talking about it is clearly a logical fallacy to suppose that just because you have a huge number of planets you are necessarily going to produce life somewhere else. The total number of planets that are likely to exist within our observable universe has been estimated at about 1020, that is a one followed by twenty zeros. And we were just talking about 1 followed by 130 zeros, and that is for a single protein! Seventy powers of ten doesn't make much of a dent in 130. It clearly is not going to help very much just extending the space to the observable universe. The mathematics is clear: the odds against making life by some sort of random molecular shuffling anywhere in the observable universe are infinitesimal. So I don't think that random shuffling explains how it happened." (Davies P.C.W. & Adams P., "More Big Questions," ABC Books: Sydney, Australia, 1998, pp.49-50) 16/06/01 "But I think the ultimate mystery of the origin of life is not so much how did two sets of complicated inter- dependent molecules ever arise spontaneously and get together, but more 'what was it that turned the kite into the radio-controlled plane'? Because however much you evolve a kite, it ain't going to be a radio- controlled plane. The reason is, of course, that the notion of radio control employing a coded informational channel is a totally different kind of conceptual scheme from the kite. It is not just a matter of more of the same, but something totally new. So, in my opinion, the real mystery of the origin of life is how did a system leap that gap from being mere hardware, like the hard-wired kite, to being a software-mediated chicken-and- egg combination?" (Davies P.C.W. & Adams P., "More Big Questions," ABC Books: Sydney, Australia, 1998, p.55) 18/06/01 "In short, the evolution of `cognition', or intelligence and self-awareness of the human type, is most unlikely even in the primate lineage. As C.O. Lovejoy puts it: `...man is not only a unique animal, but the end product of a completely unique evolutionary pathway, the elements of which are traceable at least to the beginnings of the Cenozoic. We find, then, that the evolution of cognition is the product of a variety of influences and preadaptive capacities, the absence of any one of which would have completely negated the process, and most of which are unique attributes of primates and/or hominids. Specific dietary shifts, bipedal locomotion, manual dexterity, control of differentiated muscles of facial expression, vocalization, intense social and parenting behaviour (of specific kinds), keen stereoscopic vision, and even specialized forms of sexual behaviour, all qualify as irreplaceable elements. It is evident that the evolution of cognition is neither the result of an evolutionary trend nor an event of even the lowest calculable probability, but rather the result of a series of highly specific evolutionary events whose ultimate cause is traceable to selection for unrelated factors such as locomotion and diet.." (Lovejoy C.O., in Billingham J., ed, "Life in the Universe," MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1981, p326) (Barrow J.D. & Tipler F.J., "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1996, reprint, pp.131-132) 18/06/01 "We seem to be left with a question that has no imaginable answer: How is it possible for finite beings like us to think infinite thoughts and even if they take priority over any possible outside view of them, what outside view can we take that is at least consistent with their content? The constant temptation toward reductionism-the explanation of reason in terms of something less fundamental-comes from treating our capacity to engage in it as the primary clue to what it is. ... The problem then will be not how, if we engage in it, reason can be valid, but how, if it is universally valid, we can engage in it. There are not many candidates for an answer to this question. Probably the most popular nonsubjectivist answer nowadays is an evolutionary naturalism: we can reason in these ways because it is the consequence of a more primitive capacity of belief formation that had survival value during the period when the human brain was evolving. This explanation has always seemed to me laughably inadequate. ... The other well-known answer is the religious one: The universe is intelligible to us because it and our minds were made for each other." (Nagel T., "The Last Word," Oxford University Press: New York NY, 1997, pp.74-75) 19/06/01 "Various theories have been offered - one of them being evolution creatrice by Henri Bergson - that assume the existence of a guiding principle in evolution, which replaces the chance and accident in variations; these theories are often united under the name orthogenesis, the best known of such ideas. The adherents of orthogenesis claim the existence of a plan and a goal. But since, in such a theory, Providence enters into action, and to make nature independent of it was a major objective of the theory of evolution as opposed to the teaching of special creation, after some deliberation orthogenesis, or creative evolution, met largely with rejection. The orthogeneticists could argue that many traits, when they first appeared, must have been entirely useless, yet not senseless if they were destined to become useful after many generations." (Velikovsky, I., "Earth in Upheaval," , Abacus: London, Reprinted, 1978, p.210. Emphasis original) 21/06/01 "As you seem interested in subject, & as it is an immense advantage to me to write to you & to hear ever so briefly, what you think, I will enclose (copied so as to save you trouble in reading) the briefest abstract of my notions on the means by which nature makes her species. Why I think that species have really changed depends on general facts in the affinities, embryology rudimentary organs, geological history & geographical distribution of organic beings. In regard to my abstract you must take immensely on trust; each paragraph occupying one or two chapters in my Book. ... This sketch is most imperfect; but in so short a space I cannot make it better. Your imagination must fill up many wide blanks. - Without some reflexion it will appear all rubbish; perhaps it will appear so after reflexion." (Darwin, C.R., Letter of 5 September 1857 to Asa Gray, in Burkhardt, F., ed., "Charles Darwin's Letters: A Selection 1825-1859," , Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, Canto edition, 1998, pp.177,180. Emphasis original) 21/06/01 "My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time. One of the tendencies it supports is the ludicrous overuse of evolutionary biology to explain everything about life, including everything about the human mind. Darwin enabled modern secular culture to heave a great collective sigh of relief, by apparently providing a way to eliminate purpose, meaning, and design as fundamental features of the world. Instead they become epiphenomena, generated incidentally by a process that can be entirely explained by the operation of the nonteleological laws of physics on the material of which we and our environments are all composed. There might still be thought to be a religious threat in the existence of the laws of physics themselves, and indeed the existence of anything at all-but it seems to be less alarming to most atheists. This is a somewhat ridiculous situation. First of all, one should try to resist the intellectual effects of such a fear (if not the fear itself), for it is just as irrational to be influenced in one's beliefs by the hope that God does not exist as by the hope that God does exist." (Nagel, T., "The Last Word," Oxford University Press: New York NY, 1997, p.131) 21/06/01 "The neo-Darwinists deny that physical surroundings can give rise to new species; they may bring about changes in an organism, but the acquired characteristics are not inheritable. Can, then, natural selection or competition with other animals create new species? The classic example of a giraffe with the longest neck surviving when leaves are left only high on the trees does not prove that giraffes with longer necks would become a separate species. And, in any event, under the described conditions no new race would ever evolve: the female giraffe, which are smaller in stature, would die out before the male competitors, and there would be no progeny; but should there be progeny, the young giraffes would probably die because they would be unable to reach the leaves." (Velikovsky, I., "Earth in Upheaval," , Abacus: London, Reprinted, 1978, p.211) 22/06/01 "There is no fault to be found with Mr. Darwin's method, then; but it is another question whether he has fulfilled all the conditions imposed by that method. Is it satisfactorily proved, in fact, that species may be originated by selection? that there is such a thing as natural selection ? that none of the phenomena exhibited by species are inconsistent with the origin of species in this way? If these questions can be answered in the affirmative, Mr. Darwin's vi
- They do not allow extinction, which normally would terminate all further evolution.
- They do not allow error catastrophe, which normally would cause a degradation away from any target sequence-no matter how severe the selection.
- They do not allow canyons and hills in the fitness terrain, which normally would prevent evolution.
- In short, they assume naive natural selection -that evolution is upward, ever upward.