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The following are unclassified quotes posted in my email messages in January-June, 2002.
The date format is dd/mm/yy. See copyright conditions at end.
[Index: January, February, March, April, May, June, July-December]
January 1/01/2002 "Oxford evolutionist Richard Dawkins took this idea to its logical popular science extreme, proclaiming that our bodies are mere robots-vehicles programmed by the genes. Nonetheless, after developing his narrow "selfish gene" concept, even Dawkins was forced to admit that genes in the body of a member of one species may select for traits in the bodies of members of another species, even ones thousands of miles away. ... Thus, as the "selfishness" concept is extended, it becomes very nebulous indeed. No gene in me can live by itself but only as part of a network or aggregate of other encased genes. ... Wilson too had to draw the selfish individual and gene idea out to its vanishing point. ... Why, in short, call selfish those genes that maximize the growth of completely different genes? In feeding and clothing and housing ourselves-by wearing cotton underwear and leather shoes and silk scarves-we are propagating genes other than "our own": the genes of cotton plants, cows, and silk worms. Since all these animals and plants and microbes are involved in our keeping ourselves fit, what are these selfish genes doing, if they can live only in an environment that is the product of completely different genes? It appears that the neo-Darwinian attempt to explain altruism as the result of individual selfishness has required not only the redefinition of the individual (from an animal into a gene) but also an inversion of the meaning of selfishness.' (Sagan, D., "Biospheres: Metamorphosis of Planet Earth," , Arkana: London, 1991, reprint, pp.115-116) 1/01/2002 "What is life? To the physicist the two distinguishing features of living systems are complexity and organization. Even a simple single-celled organism, primitive as it is, displays an intricacy and fidelity unmatched by any product of human ingenuity. Consider, for example, a lowly bacterium. Close inspection reveals a complex network of function and form. The bacterium may interact with its environment in a variety of ways, propelling itself, attacking enemies, moving towards or away from external stimuli, exchanging material in a controlled fashion. Its internal workings resemble a vast city in organization. Much of the control rests with the cell nucleus, wherein is also contained the genetic 'code', the chemical blueprint that enables the bacterium to replicate. The chemical structures that control and direct all this activity may involve molecules with as many as a million atoms strung together in a complicated yet highly specific way." (Davies, P.C.W., "God and the New Physics," , Penguin: London, 1990, reprint, p.59. Emphasis in original) 1/01/2002 "Darwin's second politically helpful vice was closely related to his first. It was his utter independence of other people's ideas. It seems incredible that the apostle of evolution should have been so deficient in historical sense; so much so that, although deeply interested in his own priority, he never realized that his own ideas were second hand. He thought he had worked them out himself, even when he had only sorted them out. Moreover his ideas were less clearly sorted out and less clearly expressed and, worst of all, less strictly and less openly held and maintained than the ideas of those who first thought of them. He never faced the cardinal issue of the evidence for or against the inheritance of acquired characteristics, which is more difficult and therefore more important than the issue of whether evolution has happened. He was therefore able, as he put it, to 'wriggle'. He wriggled so successfully that in the end he did not himself know where he stood." (Darlington, C.D., "Darwin's Place in History," Basil Blackwell: Oxford, 1959, pp.61-62) 1/01/2002 "Macroevolutionary processes and causations were generally considered to be of a special kind, quite different from the populational phenomena studied by geneticists and students of speciation. All this changed dramatically with the evolutionary synthesis. Its major effect was to discredit some of the beliefs most widely held previously among students of macroevolution. Important assumptions that were now rejected include the following: (1) that major saltations are indispensable in explaining the origin of new species and higher taxa; (2) that evolutionary trends and the continuous improvement of adaptations require the existence of autogenetic processes; and (3) that inheritance is soft. It was a major achievement of Rensch and Simpson to be able to show that an explanation of the phenomena of macroevolution does not require the acceptance of any of these three theories, and that in fact the phenomena of evolution above the species level are consistent with the new findings of genetics and microsystematics. Obviously, this conclusion had to be based on inference, consisting of morphological, taxonomic, and distributional evidence, since higher taxa were at that time-and, except for molecular evidence, are still today-inaccessible to genetic analysis." (Mayr, E., "The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance," Belknap Press: Cambridge MA, 1982, p.607) 2/01/2002 "And when you turn from the New Testament to modern scholars, remember that you go among them as a sheep among wolves. Naturalistic assumptions, beggings of the question such as that which I noted on the first page of this book, will meet you on every side-even from the pens of clergymen. ... We all have Naturalism in our bones and even conversion does not at once work the infection out of our system. Its assumptions rush back upon the mind the moment vigilance is relaxed. And in part the procedure of these scholars arises from the feeling which is greatly to their credit-which indeed is honourable to the point of being Quixotic. They are anxious to allow to the enemy every advantage he can with any show of fairness claim. They thus make it part of their method to eliminate the supernatural wherever it is even remotely possible to do so, to strain natural explanation even to the breaking point before they admit the least suggestion of miracle. .... In using the books of such people you must therefore be continually on guard. You must develop a nose like a bloodhound for those steps in the argument which depend not on historical and linguistic knowledge but on the concealed assumption that miracles are impossible, improbable, or improper. And this means that you must really yourself: must work hard and consistently to eradicate from your mind the whole type of thought in which we have all been brought up." (Lewis, C.S., "Miracles: A Preliminary Study," , Fontana: London, 1960, Revised edition, 1963, reprint, pp.168-169) 3/01/2002 "The sweeping nature of the changes proposed by Darwin is best documented by listing some of the more philosophical implications of Darwin's theories: (1) The replacement of a static by an evolving world (not original with Darwin). (2) The demonstration of the implausibility of creationism (Gillespie, 1979). (3) The refutation of cosmic teleology. (4) The abolition of any justification for an absolute anthropocentrism by applying the principle of common descent to man. (5) The explanation of "design" in the world by the purely materialistic process of natural selection, a process consisting of in interaction between nondirected variation and opportunistic reproductive success which was entirely outside the dogma of Christianity." (Mayr, E., "The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance," Belknap Press: Cambridge MA, 1982, p.501) 4/01/2002 "Darwin ... wrote in a letter to Sir Charles Lyell, the leading geologist of his day: `If I were convinced that I required such additions to the theory of natural selection, I would reject it as rubbish...I would give nothing for the theory of Natural selection, if it requires miraculous additions at any one stage of descent.' (Darwin C.R., Letter to C. Lyell, October 11, 1859, in Darwin F., ed., "The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin," , Basic Books: New York NY, Vol. II., 1959, reprint, pp.6-7). This is no petty matter. In Darwin's view, the whole point of the theory of evolution by natural selection was that it provided a non-miraculous account of the existence of complex adaptations. For what it is worth, it is also the whole point of this book. For Darwin, any evolution that had to be helped over the jumps by God was not evolution at all." (Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, pp.248-249. Emphasis in original) 5/01/2002 "There is one last lesson which coordinate geometry helps us to learn; it is simple and easy, but very important indeed. In the study of evolution, and in all attempts to trace the descent of the animal kingdom, fourscore years' study of the Origin of Species has had an unlooked-for and disappointing result. It was hoped to begin with, and within my own recollection it was confidently believed, that the broad lines of descent, the relation of the main branches to one another and to the trunk of the tree, would soon be settled, and the lesser ramifications would be unravelled bit by bit and later on. But things have turned out otherwise. We have long known, in more or less satisfactory detail, the pedigree of horses, elephants, turtles, crocodiles and some few more; and our conclusions tally as to these, again more or less to our satisfaction, with the direct evidence of palaeontological succession. But the larger and at first sight simpler questions remain unanswered; for eighty years' study of Darwinian evolution has not taught us how birds descend from reptiles, mammals from earlier quadrupeds, quadrupeds from fishes, nor vertebrates from the invertebrate stock." (Thompson, D.W., "On Growth and Form," , Cambridge University Press: London, Second Edition, 1952, reprint, Vol. II, pp.1092-1093) 5/01/2002 "The invertebrates themselves involve the selfsame difficulties, so that we do not know the origin of the echinoderms, of the molluscs, of the coelenterates, nor of one group of protozoa from another. The difficulty is not always quite the same. We may fail to find the actual links between the vertebrate groups, but yet their re semblance and their relationship, real though indefinable ' are plain to see; there are gaps between the groups, but we can see, so I to speak, across the gap. On the other hand, the breach between vertebrate and invertebrate, worm and coelenterate, coelenterate and protozoon, is in each case of another order, and is so wide that we cannot see across the intervening gap at all." (Thompson, D.W., "On Growth and Form," , Cambridge University Press: London, Second Edition, 1952, reprint, Vol. II, p.1093) 7/01/2002 "This failure to solve the cardinal problem of evolutionary biology is a very curious thing; and we may well wonder why the long pedigree is subject to such breaches of continuity. We used to be told, and were content to believe, that the old record was of necessity imperfect-we could not expect it to be otherwise; the story was hard to read because every here and there a page had been lost or torn away, like some hiatus valde deflendus in an ancient manuscript. But there is a deeper reason. When we begin to draw comparisons between our algebraic curves and attempt. to transform one lves limited by the very nature of the case to curves having some tangible degree of relation to one another; and these "degrees of relationship" imply a classification of mathematical forms, analogous to the classification of plants or animals in another part of the Systema Naturae." (Thompson, D.W., "On Growth and Form," , Cambridge University Press: London, Second Edition, 1952, reprint, Vol. II, p.1093) 7/01/2002 "An algebraic curve has its fundamental formula, which defines the family to which it belongs; and its parameters, whose quantitative variation admits of infinite variety within the limits which the formula prescribes. With some extension of the meaning of parameters, we may say the same of the families, or genera, or other classificatory groups of plants and animals. We cross a boundary every time we pass from family to family, or group to group. The passage is easy at first, and we are led, along definite lines, to more and more subtle and elegant comparisons. But we come in time to forms which, though both may still be simple, yet stand so far apart that direct comparison is no longer legitimate. We never think of "transforming" a helicoid into an ellipsoid, or a circle into a frequency-curve. So it is with the forms of animals. We cannot transform an invertebrate into a vertebrate, nor a coelenterate into a worm, by any simple and legitimate deformation, nor by anything short of reduction to elementary principles." (Thompson, D.W., "On Growth and Form," , Cambridge University Press: London, Second Edition, 1952, reprint, Vol. II, p.1094. Emphasis in original) 9/01/2002 "A "principle of discontinuity," then, is, inherent in all our classifications, whether mathematical, physical or biological; and the infinitude of possible forms, always limited, may be further reduced and discontinuity further revealed by imposing conditions-as, for example, that our parameters must be whole numbers, or proceed by quanta, as the physicists say. The lines of the spectrum, the six families of crystals, Dalton's atomic law, the chemical elements themselves, all illustrate this principle of discontinuity. In short, nature proceeds from one type to another among organic as well as inorganic forms; and these types vary according to their own parameters, and are defined by physico-mathematical conditions of possibility. In natural history Cuvier's "types" may not be perfectly chosen nor numerous enough, but types they are; and to seek for stepping- stones across the gaps between is to seek in vain, for ever." (Thompson, D.W., "On Growth and Form," , Cambridge University Press: London, Second Edition, 1952, reprint, Vol. II, p.1094. Emphasis in original) 10/01/2002 "I decided I needed to talk to Dan Dennett, who has a reputation as a wideranging and inventive thinker .... His new book is Consciousness Explained. That's an ambitious title, I ventured. "Yes," he acknowledged, laughing. "Actually I don't claim to have all the answers, or even most." (Lewin, R., "Complexity: Life at the Edge of Chaos," Phoenix: London, 1993, p.155) 10/01/2002 "This simple feature of the Universe, that its density is within about a factor of 10 of the critical density, leads to the first of the big problems. .... The problem arises because if the value of the density parameter departed even very slightly from the critical value in the very early Universe. ... unless it was set up with more or less exactly its own escape velocity at the beginning, it has no chance of ending up with an expansion velocity close to its escape velocity now. You can see what this means - the Universe must have been set up in the beginning with almost exactly the critical density with quite amazing precision if it is to end up within a factor of 10 of the critical density now. This is what is called the fine-tuning problem of the Universe. Despite the fact that there is no obvious reason why our Universe should have the critical density, the Universe must have been set up that way very precisely in the beginning." (Longair, M.S., "The Origins of our Universe: A Study of the Origin and Evolution of the Contents of our Universe," The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures for Young People 1990, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1991, p.98-99) 11/01/2002 "Our geometrical analogies weigh heavily against Darwin's conception of endless small continuous variations; they help to show that discontinuous variations are a natural thing, that "mutations sudden changes, greater or less-are bound to have taken place, and new "types" to have arisen, now and then." (Thompson, D.W., "On Growth and Form," , Cambridge University Press: London, Second Edition, 1952, reprint, Vol. II, pp.1094- 1095) 11/01/2002 "The human immunodeficiency virus contains in its brief history the entire argument of The Origin of Species: variation, a struggle for existence, and natural selection." (Jones, J.S., "Almost Like a Whale: The Origin of Species Updated," Doubleday: London, 1999, p.16) 12/01/2002 "In these days of astounding advances in science and technology it is perhaps rash to declare dogmatically that anything such as the artificial synthesis of a living cell is impossible. Yet, on what sort of microloom would a biologist weave the membranes of the endoplasmic reticulum, or with what delicate needles could a biologist fashion the intricacies of the cell nucleus?" (Price, F.W., "Basic Molecular Biology," John Wiley & Sons: New York NY, 1979, p.466) 12/01/2002 "More biologists agree that stasis is a real phenomenon than agree about its causes. Take, as an extreme example, the coelacanth Latimeria. The coelacanths were a large group of 'fish' (actually, although they are called fish they are more closely related to us than they are to trout and herrings) that flourished more than 250 million years ago and apparently died out at about the same time as the dinosaurs. I say 'apparently' died out because in 1938, much to the zoological world's astonishment, a weird fish, a yard and a half long and with unusual leg-like fins, appeared in the catch of a deepsea fishing boat off the South African coast. Though almost destroyed before its priceless worth was recognized, its decaying remains were fortunately brought to the attention of a qualified South African zoologist just in time. Scarcely able to believe his eyes, he identified it as a living coelacanth, and named it Latimeria. Since then, a few other specimens have been fished up in the same area, and the species has now been properly studied and described. It is a 'living fossil', in the sense that it has changed hardly at all since the time of its fossil ancestors, hundreds of millions of years ago. So, we have stasis. What are we to make of it? How do we explain it? Some of us would say that the lineage leading to Latimeria stood still because natural selection did not move it. In a sense it had no 'need' to evolve because these animals had found a successful way of life deep in the sea where conditions did not change much." (Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, p.246) 12/01/2002 "A pinhole camera forms a definite image, the smaller the pinhole the sharper (but dimmer) the image, the larger the pinhole the brighter (but fuzzier) the image. The swimming mollusc Nautilus, a rather strange squid-like creature that lives in a shell like the extinct ammonites (see the 'shelled cephalopod' of Figure 5), has a pair of pinhole cameras for eyes. The eye is basically the same shape as ours but there is no lens and the pupil is just a hole that lets the seawater into the hollow interior of the eye. Actually, Nautilus is a bit of a puzzle in its own right. Why, in all the hundreds of millions of years since its ancestors first evolved a pinhole eye, did it never discover the principle of the lens? The advantage of a lens is that it allows the image to be both sharp and bright. What is worrying about Nautilus is that the quality of its retina suggests that it would really benefit, greatly and immediately, from a lens. It is like a hi-fi system with an excellent amplifier fed by a gramophone with a blunt needle. The system is crying out for a particular simple change. In genetic hyperspace, Nautilus appears to be sitting right next door to an obvious and immediate improvement, yet it doesn't take the small step necessary. Why not? Michael Land of Sussex University, our foremost authority on invertebrate eyes, is worried, and so am I. Is it that the necessary mutations cannot arise, given the way Nautilus embryos develop? I don't want to believe it, but I don't have a better explanation." (Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, pp.85-86) 14/01/2002 "Now I cannot deny all these possibilities: life on the Earth may be a miracle, or a freak, or an alien infection. And I agree that the confidence was misplaced that supposed in the fifties that the answer to the origin of life would appear in some footnote to the answer to the question of how organisms work. Something much more will be needed. Something odd." (Cairns-Smith, A.G., "Seven Clues to the Origin of Life: A Scientific Detective Story," , Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1993, reprint, p.8). 16/01/2002 "How did a primordial soup of amino acids and other simple molecules manage to turn itself into the first living cell some four billion years ago? There's no way the molecules could have just fallen together at random; as the creationists are fond of pointing out, the odds against that happening are ludicrous. So was the creation of life a miracle? Or was there some thing else going on in that primordial soup that we still don't understand?" (Waldrop,, M.M., "Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos," Penguin: London, , 1994, reprint, p.10) 17/01/2002 "If evolution (or free market capitalism) is really just a matter of the survival of the fittest, then why should it ever produce anything other than ruthless competition among individuals? In a world where nice guys all too often finish last, why should there be any such thing as trust or cooperation? And why, in spite of everything, do trust and cooperation not-only exist but flourish?" (Waldrop, M.M., "Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos," Penguin: London, , 1994, reprint, p.10) 17/01/2002 "First, there is belief in divine Creation: God did it. If that is so, there is no point in trying to investigate further. What God did is a matter for faith and not for scientific inquiry. The two fields are separate. If our scientific inquiry should lead eventually to God, to questions so large that they cannot be examined coherently, that will be the time to stop science." (Edey, M.A. & Johanson, D.C., "Blueprints: Solving The Mystery of Evolution," Little, Brown & Co: Boston MA, 1989, p.291) 18/01/2002 "When you are criticising the philosophy of an epoch, do not chiefly direct your attention to those intellectual positions which its exponents feel it necessary explicitly to defend. There will be some fundamental assumptions which adherents of all the variant systems within the epoch unconsciously presuppose. Such assumptions appear so obvious that people do not know what they are assuming because no other way of putting things has ever occurred to them." (Whitehead, A.N., "Science and the Modern World," , Penguin Books: Harmondsworth, Middlesex UK, 1938, reprint, pp.63-64) 19/01/2002 "How can Darwinian natural selection account for such wonderfully intricate structures as the eye or the kidney? Is the incredibly precise organization that we find in living creatures really just the result of random evolutionary accidents? Or has something more been going on for the past four billion years, something that Darwin didn't know about?" (Waldrop, M.M., "Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos," Penguin: London, , 1994, reprint, p.10) 19/01/2002 "The traditional argument that moral standards are derived from sensory pleasure or the reduction of pain cannot explain the universal fact that people become angry when they see others violate standards they believe are right. Why do we become upset when we see a stranger lie to a tourist or push ahead in a queue when our own lives are unaffected by those rude acts? One explanation is that these asocial acts by one stranger to another provoke bystanders to question the correctness of their own moral beliefs. Because these beliefs are central to each day's decisions and conduct, their violation, even by a stranger, threatens the rational foundation of the observer's ethical code. Not even the cleverest ape could be conditioned to become angry upon seeing one animal steal food from another. Surprise or fear, perhaps, but anger is impossible. The popular writings of Camus and Sartre capture the combination of angst and anger that postwar Europeans felt when they realized that if there was no firm basis for any particular moral evaluation, life was absurd. Although evolutionary biologists insist that the appearance of humans was due to a quirky role of the genetic dice, our species refuses to act as if good and evil are arbitrary choices bereft of natural significance." (Kagan, J., "Three Seductive Ideas," Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, 1998, p.158) 21/01/2002 "I confess that, as a graduate student, I was so taken by the simplicity and unifying power of "the modern synthesis" that I could imagine no higher task for paleontology than the faithful furthering of its hegemony. The modern synthesis built its theory upon small-scale events that occur with in local populations and, assuming a smoothly continuous rather than a hierarchical world, argued for complete extrapolation into millions of years and major transitions in form. ... I believe that our preference for searching always to exemplify microevolutionary principles in the fossil record has been unfortunate ... It has led us into serious errors of scaling. We see, in the vastness of geological time, events that bear superficial similarity to phenomena of local populations-and we assign a similar cause without realizing that the extended time itself precludes such an application. Thus, some of the most puzzling phenomena of paleontology, potential sources of new theory, are passively pushed under a familiar rug. ... Gradualism. In this case, we didn't even see the phenomenon in fossil sequences, but assumed that it must have existed and been obliterated by an imperfect record-and all because we thought that evolutionary theory (as Darwin falsely claimed) required its generality ... And yet, to see gradualism at all in the fossil record implies such an excruciatingly slow rate of per-generation change that we must seriously consider its invisibility to natural selection in the conventional mode - changes that confer momentary adaptive advantages. Any measurable momentary advantage should usually sweep through a population in times represented more nearly by a bedding plane than by a thick sequence. Thus, I believe that sustained gradualism, rare though it may be, represents more of an interesting mystery than a ringing affirmation of microevolutionary extrapolation." (Gould, S.J., "The promise of paleobiology as a nomothetic, evolutionary discipline," Paleobiology, Vol. 6, No. 1, January 1980, pp.96-118, p.103) 21/01/2002 "It is frequently claimed that science must by definition exclude the supernatural. A number of related issues were raised in the previous chapter, but it is worth noting that appeal to a definition of science here is going to be a bit problematic because there simply is no completely satisfactory formal definition available to appeal to. Defining science turns out to be one of the nastier problems within philosophy of science. And some of the informal or partial definitions provide little comfort to would-be prohibitionists. For instance, science has recently been defined in one court simply as "what scientists do." That does not in principle rule out anything at all. Whatever this group of humans (scientists) decided to do-including developing theories which appeal to the supernatural-would turn out to be science. In their popular writings, some scientists define science as "an attempt to get at truth, no holds barred." "No holds barred" is about as antiprohibitionist as one can get. Others define science as "organized common sense." But if there is anything that has been considered common sense during human history, it is the existence and activity in nature of the supernatural. Again, barring the supernatural purely on definitional grounds thus turns out not to be a straightforward matter." (Ratzsch, D.L.*, "Nature, Design and Science: The Status of Design in Natural Science," State University of New York Press: Albany NY, 2001, pp.105-106. Emphasis in original) 21/01/2002 "There is another way to be a Creationist. One might offer Creationism as a scientific theory .... Although pure versions of Creationism were no longer in vogue among scientists by the end of the eighteenth century, they had flourished earlier ... Moreover, variants of Creationism were supported by a number of eminent nineteenth- century scientists William Buckland, Adam Sedgwick, and Louis Agassiz, for example. These Creationists trusted that their theories would accord with the Bible, interpreted in what they saw as a correct way. However, that fact does not affect the scientific status of those theories. Even postulating an unobserved Creator need be no more unscientific than postulating unobservable particles. What matters is the character of the proposals and the ways in which they are articulated and defended." (Kitcher, P., "Abusing Science: The Case against Creationism," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Ninth Printing, 1996, p.125) 22/01/2002 "In its December 1990 fly-by of Earth, the Galileo spacecraft found evidence of abundant gaseous oxygen, a widely distributed surface pigment with a sharp absorption edge in the red part of the visible spectrum, and atmospheric methane in extreme thermodynamic disequilibrium; together, these are strongly suggestive of life on Earth. Moreover, the presence of narrow band, pulsed, amplitude-modulated radio transmission seems uniquely attributable to intelligence. These observations constitute a control experiment for the search for extraterrestrial life by modern interplanetary spacecraft." (Sagan, C.E., Thompson W.R., Carlson, R., Gurnett, D. & Hord, C., "A search for life on Earth from the Galileo spacecraft," Nature, Vol 365, 21 October 1993, pp.715-721, p.715) 23/01/2002 "During the Galileo fly-by, the plasma wave instrument detected radio signals, plausibly escaping through the nightside ionosphere from ground-based radio transmitters. Of all Galileo science measurements, these signals provide the only indication of intelligent, technological life on Earth. ... The fact that the central frequencies of these signals, remain constant over periods of hours strongly suggests an artificial origin. Naturally generated radio emissions most always display significant long-term frequency drifts. Even more definitive is the existence of pulse like amplitude modulation. When the spectrum in Fig. 4a is expanded (Fig. 4b), the individual narrow- band component, can he seen to have a complex modulation pattern. Although the time resolution of the instrument (18.67s) is inadequate to decode the modulation, such, modulation patterns are never observed for naturally occurring radio emissions and implies the transmission of information. On the basis of these observations, strong case can he made that the signals are generated by an intelligent form of life on Earth ... without any a priori assumptions about its chemistry ..." (Sagan, C.E,, Thompson, W.R., Carlson, R., Gurnett, D. & Hord, C., "A search for life on Earth from the Galileo spacecraft," Nature, Vol 365, 21 October 1993, pp.715- 721, p.720) 23/01/2002 "Darwin's theory of natural selection has always been closely linked to evidence from fossils, and probably most people assume that fossils provide a very important part of the general argument that is made in favor of darwinian interpretations of the history of life. Unfortunately, this is not strictly true. We must distinguish between the fact of evolution - defined as change in organisms over time - and the explanation of that change. Darwin's contribution, through his theory of natural selection, was to suggest how the evolutionary change took place. The evidence we find in the geologic record is not nearly as compatible with darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be." (Raup, D.M., "Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology," Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, Field Museum of Natural History: Chicago IL, January 1979, Vol. 50, No. 1, pp.22-29, p.22. Emphasis in original) 24/01/2002 "Promising though the RNA world scenario seems, it has many detractors. They point out that, however good the theory may be, test tube experiments are frequently dismal failures. Key reactions stubbornly refuse to proceed without carefully designed procedures and the help of special catalysts. Nucleic acid chains are notoriously fragile, and tend to snap long before they have acquired the 50 or so base pairs needed for them to act as enzymes. Water attacks and breaks up nucleic acid polymers as it does peptides, casting doubt on any soupy version of an RNA world. Even the synthesis of the four bases required as building blocks is not without serious problems. As far as biochemists can see, it is a long and difficult road to produce efficient RNA replicators from scratch. No doubt a way could eventually be found for each step in the chemical sequence to be carried out in the lab without too much drama, but only under highly artificial conditions, using specially prepared and purified chemicals in lust the right proportions. The trouble is, there are very many such steps involved, and each requires different special conditions. It is highly doubtful that all these steps would obligingly happen one after the other 'in the wild', where a chemical soup or scum would just have to take pot luck. The conclusion has to be that without a trained organic chemist on hand to supervise, nature would be struggling to make RNA from a dilute soup under any plausible prebiotic conditions. So whilst an RNA world could conceivably function and evolve towards life if handed to us on a plate (perhaps in a soup bowl would be a better metaphor), getting the RNA world going from a crude chemical mixture is another matter entirely." (Davies, P.C.W., "The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin of Life," Penguin: Ringwood VIC, Australia, 1998, p.98) 24/01/2002 "Added to these diverse difficulties is the problem of chirality - left versus right .... The fact that all life on Earth is based on molecules with the same handedness is not merely a curiosity: RNA replication would be menaced in an environment in which both left- and right-handed versions of the basic molecules are equally present. The crucial lock-and-key templating arrangements, whereby bases pair up with complementary bases according to their shapes, would be compromised as molecules with the 'wrong' handedness locked into the slots. The left hand would mess up what the right hand was doing. Unless a way can be found for nature to create a soup with molecules of only one handedness, spontaneous RNA synthesis would be a lost cause." (Davies, P.C.W., "The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin of Life," Penguin: Ringwood VIC, Australia, 1998, pp.99-100) 26/01/2002 "Some variant of Hume's philosophy has generally prevailed among men of science. But scientific faith has risen to the occasion, and has tacitly removed the philosophic mountain. In view of this strange contradiction in scientific thought, it is of the first importance to consider the antecedents of a faith which is impervious to the demand for a consistent rationality. We have therefore to trace the rise of the instinctive faith that there is an Order of Nature which can be traced in every detailed occurrence. Of course we all share in this faith, and we therefore believe that the reason for the faith is our apprehension of its truth." (Whitehead, A.N., "Science and the Modern World," Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, 1926, Reprinted, 1938, pp.14-15) 27/01/2002 "But for science something more is wanted than a general sense of the order in things. It needs but a sentence to point out how the habit of definite exact thought was implanted in the European mind by the long dominance of scholastic logic and scholastic divinity. The habit remained after the philosophy had been repudiated, the priceless habit of look for an exact point and of sticking to it when found. ... I do not think, however, that I have even yet brought the greatest contribution of medievalism to the formation of the scientific movement. I mean the inexpugnable belief that every detailed occurrence can be correlated with antecedents in a perfectly definite manner, exemplifying general principles. Without this belief the incredible labours of scientists would be without hope. It is this in instinctive conviction, vividly poised before the imagination, which is the motive power of research: that there is a secret, a secret which can be unveiled. How has this conviction been so vividly implanted in the European mind? When we compare this tone of thought in Europe with the attitude of other civilisations when left to themselves, there seems but one source for its origin. It must come from the medieval insistence on the rationality of God, conceived as with the personal energy of Jehovah and with the rationality of a Greek philosopher. Every detail was supervised and ordered: the search into nature could only result in the vindication of the faith in rationality. Remember that I am not talking of the explicit beliefs of a few individuals. What I mean is the impress on the European mind arising from the unquestioned faith of centuries." (Whitehead, A.N., "Science and the Modern World," Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, 1926, Reprinted, 1938, pp.23-24) 27/01/2002 "With Darwin, the reverse swing was started. Man was once again regarded as an animal, but now in the light of science rather than of unsophisticated sensibility. At the outset, the consequences of the changed outlook were not fully explored. The unconscious prejudices and attitudes of an earlier age survived, disguising many of the moral and philosophical implications of the new outlook. But gradually the pendulum reached the furthest point of its swing. What seemed the logical consequences of the Darwinian postulates were faced: man is an animal like any other; accordingly, his views as to the special meaning of human life and human ideals need merit no more consideration in the light of eternity (or of evolution) than those of a bacillus or a tapeworm. Survival is the only criterion of evolutionary success: therefore, all existing organisms are of equal value. The idea of progress is a mere anthropomorphism. Man happens to be the dominant type at the moment, but he might be replaced by the ant or the rat. And so on." (Huxley, J.S., "The Uniqueness of Man," Chatto & Windus: London, 1941, Third Impression, p.2) 28/01/2002 "The second argument-that the imperfection of nature reveals evolution-strikes many people as ironic, for they feel that evolution should be most elegantly displayed in the nearly perfect adaptation expressed by some organisms- the camber of a gull's wing, or butterflies that cannot be seen in ground litter because they mimic leaves so precisely. But perfection could be imposed by a wise creator or evolved by natural selection. Perfection covers the tracks of past history. And past history-the evidence of descent-is the mark of evolution. Evolution lies exposed in the imperfections that record history of descent. Why should a rat run, a bat fly, a porpoise swim, and I type this essay with structures built of the same bones unless we all inherited them from a common ancestor? An engineer, starting from scratch, could design better limbs in each case." (Gould, S.J., "Evolution as Fact and Theory," in "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1986, reprint, p.258) 28/01/2002 "My own starting position can be summed up in three statements: first, that the only minds whose existence we can be confident of are associated with the complex brains of humans and some other animals; second, that we (and other animals with minds) are the products of evolution by natural selection; and, third, that neither in the origin of life nor in its subsequent evolution has there been any supernatural interference - that is, anything happening contrary to the laws of physics. (This last is, if you like, a confession of biological uniformitarianism - a belief that, so far as possible, it is sensible to try to explain the past in terms of the kinds of processes that occur in the present.)" (Glynn, I., "An Anatomy of Thought: The Origin and Machinery of the Mind," , Phoenix: London, 2000, reprint, p.5. Emphasis in original) 31/01/2002 "Are these few base substitutions incorporated in the DNA enough to be the source of variation for the last 15 million years of human evolution? it seems unlikely unless they had just the right kinds of effect. We can think in terms of changes in the gene regulatory system that would affect the form or function of an organ. But how many base substitutions can have such effects? Amino acid substitutions in typical proteins - no way. I feel that it would take billions of small biochemical lesions to add up to the multiple changes that have occurred in form. Even billions might not be enough, owing to a low probability of the proper combinations of events." (Britten, R.J., "The Sources of Variation in Evolution," in Duncan, R. & Weston-Smith, M., eds., "The Encyclopaedia of Ignorance: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Unknown," , Pergamon: Oxford U.K, 1978, reprint, p.216) February [top] 1/02/2002 "The truth is that evolution was an hypothesis which hardened into dogma before it had been thoroughly analysed. Hence it mothered a number of fallacies. It was easy to say that the idea of change or transformation in nature had been substituted for that of immutability; but what sort of change was involved? If species were no longer regarded as immutable, the fact remained that they exhibited a measure of stability, or they would not have deserved the name of species." (Tomlin, E.W.F., "Fallacies of Evolutionary Theory," in Duncan, R. & Weston-Smith, M., eds., "The Encyclopaedia of Ignorance: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Unknown," , Pergamon: Oxford U.K, 1978, reprint, p.228. Emphasis in original). 2/02/2002 "We had to wait until the 1950s for Stanley Miller to actually attempt to experimentally reproduce the soup (Miller 1953) . Miller started with a reasonable composition of the ancient atmosphere: mostly methane and ammonia, with no oxygen - since atmospheric oxygen, together with the ozone that blocks UV radiation, was in fact produced by the organic process of photosynthesis in blue-green algae much, much later than soup time (which is a fortunate coincidence, given that oxygen attacks and destroys - technically it "oxidizes" - organic compounds at a very fast rate). Miller put the whole thing in a ball, gave it some electric charge, and waited. He did find that amino acids and other fundamental complex organic molecules were accumulating at the bottom of his apparatus. His discovery gave a huge boost to the scientific investigation of the origin of life. Indeed, for some time it seemed like recreation of life in a test tube was within reach of experimental science. Unfortunately, Miller-type experiments have not progressed much further than their original prototype, leaving us with a sour aftertaste from the primordial soup." (Pigliucci, M., "Where Do We Come From?," Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 23, No. 5, September/October 1999, pp. 21-29, p. 24. http://fp.bio.utk.edu/skeptic/Essays/origin_of_life.htm) 3/02/2002 "If nature unguided by natural selection did hit on our most ultimate ancestors within such a time (and on present evidence life appeared on earth at least within a billion years of the conditions being right - and possibly almost at once) then we should be able to mimic nature's performance within quite a short time - say about a fortnight. That we have not succeeded in what should be technically a relatively simple matter is an indication that we have not been looking in the right place." (Cairns-Smith, A.G., "Synthetic Life for Industry," in Duncan, R. & Weston-Smith, M., eds., "The Encyclopaedia of Ignorance: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Unknown," , Pergamon: Oxford UK, 1978, reprint, p.406) 3/02/2002 "Evolution has been by no means simply an increase in complexity and sophistication of some set of mechanisms that were there from the start. Typically, in that part of the evolutionary story for which we have evidence, quite new mechanisms emerged at levels at which they became possible and useful, and these often displaced earlier structures." (Cairns-Smith, A.G., "Synthetic Life for Industry," in Duncan, R. & Weston-Smith, M., eds., "The Encyclopaedia of Ignorance: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Unknown," , Pergamon: Oxford UK, 1978, reprint, p.407) 3/02/2002 "This all points to the possibility that the formation and development of simple life was not an especially difficult process; at least not when compared to the evolution of land plants, which only appeared some 3000m years after the ancestral cyanobacteria. It seems as though simple chemical reactions among the compounds that scientists envisage were available on the early Earth were sufficient to drive the process that led inexorably to life ... . There is, however, one problem with this assumption: scientists still have no firm idea of what the mechanics of this kind of 'prebiotic' chemistry were or how the whole ascent to life actually happened. Recently, new experimental methods have shed some light on the possible processes, but have also served to add to the general uncertainty. One thing that scientists working in this field do know, however, is that whatever form early life took it didn't possess DNA or proteins." (Evans, J., "It's alive - isn't it?," Chemistry in Britain, Vol. 36, No. 5, May 2000, pp.44-47, p.44) 4/02/2002 "There are a lot of things we do not know about evolution, but they are not the things that non-biologists think we do not know. If I admit to a nonbiological colleague that evolution theory is inadequate, he is likely to assume at once that Darwinism is about to be replaced by Lamarckism and natural selection by the inheritance of acquired characters. In fact, nothing seems to me less likely. In common with almost everyone working in the field, I am an unrepentant neo-Darwinist. That is, I think that the origin of evolutionary novelty is a process of gene mutation which is non-adaptive, and that the direction of evolution is largely determined by natural selection. I am enough of a Popperian to know that this is a hypothesis, not a fact, and that observations may one day oblige me to abandon it, but I do not expect to have to." (Maynard Smith J., "The Limitations of Evolution Theory," in Duncan, R. & Weston-Smith, M., eds., "The Encyclopaedia of Ignorance: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Unknown," , Pergamon: Oxford UK, 1978, reprint, p.236) 4/02/2002 "Does the fossil record present a true picture of the history of life, or should it be viewed with caution? Raup argued that plots of the diversification of life were an illustration of bias: the older the rocks, the less we know. The debate was partially resolved by the observation that different data sets gave similar patterns of rising diversity through time. Here we show that new assessment methods, in which the order of fossils in the rocks (stratigraphy) is compared with the order inherent in evolutionary trees (phylogeny), provide a more convincing analytical tool: stratigraphy and phylogeny offer independent data on history. Assessments of congruence between stratigraphy and phylogeny for a sample of 1,000 published phylogenies show no evidence of diminution of quality backwards in time. Ancient rocks clearly preserve less information, on average, than more recent rocks. However, if scaled to the stratigraphic level of the stage and the taxonomic level of the family, the past 540 million years of the fossil record provide uniformly good documentation of the life of the past." (Benton, M.J., Wills, M.A. & Hitchin, R., "Quality of the fossil record through time," Nature, Vol. 403, 3 February 2000, pp.534-537, p.534) 4/02/2002 "One possible escape route from the strictures of the second law is to depart from thermodynamic equilibrium conditions. The American biochemist Sidney Fox has investigated what happens when a mixture of amino acids is strongly heated. By driving out the water as steam, the linkage of amino acids into peptide chains becomes much more likely. The thermal energy flow generates the necessary entropy to comply with the second law. Fox has produced some quite long polypeptides, which he terms "proteinoids', using this method. Unfortunately, the resemblance between Fox's proteinoids and real proteins is rather superficial. For example, real proteins are made exclusively of left-handed amino acids (see p. 42), whereas proteinoids are an equal mixture of left and right." (Davies, P.C.W., "The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin of Life," Penguin: Ringwood VIC, Australia, 1998, pp.60-61) 4/02/2002 "One simple alternative is to presume that the properties of the microspheres are less significant than claimed. Suppose, for example, that our monkey had typed a sentence containing more numbers than letters, rather than a phrase from Shakespeare. It would be nonrandom but unimportant, indicating only that he had a preference for the upper part of the keyboard. Similarly, the various properties shown by the microspheres- division, weak catalytic activity, a double-layered border, electrical signals, and the rest-may be somewhat general properties of microscopic particles of a certain size and unrelated, or only slightly related, to the actual processes of life. During my childhood, I learned that I could make the shadow of a dog with my hand. I needed only to point my thumb out, bend in my index finger, and hold my hand before a light to produce the image of a dog's head on the wall. I could enhance the effect by moving my pinky while making barking noises. But this form was not a dog, nor could it ever become one; it was merely shadow play. In the same way, the properties of the microspheres, while entertaining, may be merely shadow play." (Shapiro, R., "Origins: A Skeptic's Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth," Summit Books: New York NY, 1986, pp.200-201) 4/02/2002 "The rationale put forward by Oparin, Fox, and others for their models is that the living cell was preceded by a system that had morphological properties resembling cells but was not yet living. Purportedly, Oparin's coacervates became protobionts, and Fox's microspheres, protocells. These structures then supposedly underwent a period of evolution in which they changed until they evolved into the first living cells. No matter how you look at it, this is scientific nonsense. Evolution is a biological process of development through mutation, reproduction, and selection. These pseudecellular models, like clay, soap bubbles, or other inanimate objects, have neither the mechanism nor the potential of becoming anything more than what they are." (Day, W., "Genesis on Planet Earth: The Search for Life's Beginning," , Yale University Press: New Haven CT, Second Edition, 1984, pp.204-205) 4/02/2002 "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) 4/02/2002 "Could the primeval amino acids have joined into peptides under prebiotic conditions? What looked like a simple positive answer to this question was found in 1958 by the American biochemist Sidney Fox, long of the University of Florida, now at the University of South Alabama. His recipe: Just heat a dry mixture of amino acids for three hours at 170 C (338 F). Water comes out and you get a plastic-like solid that, when ground and mixed with water, yields up to 15 percent of its weight as a water-soluble product made, on average, of some fifty amino acids joined together. To this product Fox gave the name proteinoid, a cautious [sic curious?] choice since proteinoids are far from having the regular chainlike structure of peptides. For Fox, this discovery initiated a lifelong avocation. He found that proteinoids spontaneously form microscopic vesicles, or "microspheres," which he saw as the first cells, and spent his whole career pursuing these studies. Few origin-of-life experts are as sanguine as Fox concerning the significance of his results. It has been objected that the conditions required for the formation of proteinoids are not likely to have obtained on the prebiotic Earth, that the resulting material has more in common with primeval "goo" than with proteins, and that the microspheres are a far cry from anything that could be called a cell." (de Duve, C.R., "Vital Dust: Life as a Cosmic Imperative," , Basic Books: New York NY, 1998, reprint, p.29) 5/02/2002 "This is one of the first public occasions on which it has been frankly faced that all aspects of reality are subject to evolution, from atoms and stars to fish and flowers, from fish and flowers to human societies and valuesindeed, that all reality is a single process of evolution." (Huxley, J.S., "The Evolutionary Vision," in Tax S. & Callender C., eds., "Evolution After Darwin: Issues in Evolution," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, Vol. III, 1960, p.249) 5/02/2002 "In the evolutionary pattern of thought there is no longer either need or room for the supernatural. The earth was not created, it evolved. So did all the animals and plants that inhabit it, including our human selves, mind and soul as well as brain and body. So did religion." (Huxley, J.S., "The Evolutionary Vision," in Tax S. & Callender C., eds., "Evolution After Darwin: Issues in Evolution," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, Vol. III, 1960, pp.252-253) 5/02/2002 "Religions are organs of psychosocial man concerned with human destiny and with experiences of sacredness and transcendence. In their evolution, some (but by no means all) have given birth to the concept of gods as supernatural beings endowed with mental and spiritual properties and capable of intervening in the affairs of nature, including man. Such supernaturally centered religions ... are destined to disappear in competition with other, truer, and more embracing thought organizations which are handling the same range of raw or processed experience-in this case, with the new religions which are surely destined to emerge on this world's scene." (Huxley, J.S., "The Evolutionary Vision," in Tax S. & Callender C., eds., "Evolution After Darwin: Issues in Evolution," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, Vol. III, 1960, p.253) 5/02/2002 "The emergent religion of the near future could be a good thing. It will believe in knowledge. It should be able to take advantage of the vast amount of new knowledge produced by the knowledge explosion of the last few centuries to construct what we may call its "theology"-the framework of facts and ideas which provide it with intellectual support; it should be able, with our increased knowledge of mind, to define our sense of right and wrong more clearly so as to provide a better moral support; it should be able to focus the feeling of sacredness onto fitter objects, instead of worshiping supernatural rulers, so as to provide truer spiritual support, to sanctify the higher manifestations of human nature in art and love, in intellectual comprehension and aspiring adoration, and to emphasize the fuller realization of life's possibilities as a sacred trust." (Huxley, J.S., "The Evolutionary Vision," in Tax S. & Callender C., eds., "Evolution After Darwin: Issues in Evolution," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, Vol. III, 1960, p.260) 5/02/2002 "Thus the evolutionary vision, first opened up to us by Charles Darwin a century back, illuminates our existence in a simple, but almost overwhelming, way. It exemplifies the truth that truth is great and will prevail, and the greater truth that truth will set us free. Evolutionary truth frees us from subservient fear of the unknown and supernatural and exhorts us to face this new freedom with courage tempered with wisdom and hope tempered with knowledge. It shows us our destiny and our duty." (Huxley, J.S., "The Evolutionary Vision," in Tax S. & Callender C., eds., "Evolution After Darwin: Issues in Evolution," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, Vol. III, 1960, p.260) 5/02/2002 "Enzymes are complex protein molecules and it is impossible to imagine that such a specific compound could have been produced by chance, even in a period of up to 300 million years. Professor Quastler has calculated that the odds against producing a specific complex molecule on Earth are 1 in 10^301 (10 followed by 301 zeros), which is very near to impossible. Other calculations have been made to estimate the chance probability of a DNA molecule being produced somewhere in the Universe. If one assumes that there could be 10^20 planets in the Universe where life may exist or have existed, then the odds of a complex DNA molecule being formed by chance are 1 in 10^415, and these odds lengthen to an astonishing 1 in 10^600 if a longer strand of DNA is postulated. It is very hard to imagine even the complex molecular building blocks of life (proteins, enzymes and DNA) being formed by chance. And the random abiogenic origin of a simple living cell is approaching the impossible." (Brooks J., "Origins of Life," Lion: Tring, Hertfordshire UK, 1985, p.103) 5/02/2002 "The evidence we find in the geologic record is not nearly as compatible with darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be. Darwin was completely aware of this. He was embarrassed by the fossil record because it didn't look the way he predicted it would and, as a result, he devoted a long section of his Origin of Species to an attempt to explain and rationalize the differences. There were several problems, but the principal one was that the geologic record did not then and still does not yield a finely graduated chain of slow and progressive evolution. In other words, there are not enough intermediates. There are very few cases where one can find a gradual transition from one species to another and very few cases where one can look at a part of the fossil record and actually see that organisms were improving in the sense of becoming better adapted." (Raup, D.M., "Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology," Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, Field Museum of Natural History: Chicago IL, January 1979, Vol. 50, No. 1, pp.22-29, pp.22-23). 5/02/2002 "To emphasize this let me cite a couple of statements Darwin made in his Origin of Species: At one point he observed, "innumerable transitional forms must have existed but why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?"; in another place he said, "why is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain, and this perhaps is the greatest objection which can be urged against my theory." Instead of finding the gradual unfolding of life, what geologists of Darwin's time, and geologists of the present day actually find is a highly uneven or jerky record; that is, species appear in the sequence very suddenly, show little or no change during their existence in the record, then abruptly go out of the record. And it is not always clear, in fact it's rarely clear, that the descendants were actually better adapted than their predecessors. In other words, biological improvement is hard to find." (Raup, D.M., "Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology," Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, Field Museum of Natural History: Chicago IL, January 1979, Vol. 50, No. 1, pp.22-29, p.23) 6/02/2002 "Another more fundamental and intractable problem that strikes at the very heart of the RNA world hypothesis is, as Ferris himself admits, the prebiotic formation of the nucleotide units. At first glance, this doesn't really seem to be too much of a problem. An RNA nucleotide is made up of a phosphorylated ribose sugar linked to one of the four RNA bases, and a variety of plausible prebiotic synthetic routes for creating all of these have been suggested. ... But would these kinds of reactions have been plausible on the early Earth? One scientist who thinks not is Robert Shapiro at New York University, US. He argues that many of the prebiotic routes suggested for the synthesis of nucleotide bases are so artificial that it is unlikely that they ever took place on the early Earth, and that, even if they did, any yields from the reactions would have been so small and the products would have decayed so rapidly that there would have been little chance of them getting together to form nucleotides. For instance, the adenine nucleotide, adenosine, can theoretically be produced entirely abiotically. However, according to Shapiro, ribose can only be derived from formaldehyde in relatively small yields, and a whole bunch of closely related products are produced as well; this is also the case for the synthesis of adenine from ammonia and hydrogen cyanide. To produce adenosine abiotically in the laboratory, however, prebiotic chemists extract ribose and adenine from the other compounds, and react them together under optimum conditions. As Shapiro says in his recent book Planetary Dreams: 'It would be much more realistic to heat together the entire formaldehyde and cyanide products, which would furnish the mother of all messes. Better yet, the chemist should simply mix the cyanide and formaldehyde starting materials. But we know what happens in that case; the two substances have a great affinity for each other and their reaction takes off in a direction that bears no relation to life as we know it'. At least a theoretical prebiotic synthesis path has been developed for adenosine: no such path has yet been defined for the pyrimidine nucleotides." (Evans, J., "It's alive isn't it?," Chemistry in Britain, Vol. 36, No. 5, May 2000, pp.44-47, p.46) 7/02/2002 "Clearly, I believe in this interdisciplinary exercise, and I accept the enlightenment that intelligent outsiders can bring to the puzzles of a discipline. The differences in approach are so fascinating- and each valid in its own realm. Philosophers will dissect the logic of an argument, an exercise devoid of empirical content, well past the point of glaze over scientific eyes (and here I blame scientists for their parochiality, for all the world's empirics cannot save an argument falsely formulated)." (Gould, S.J. "Impeaching a Self-Appointed Judge." Book Review of "Darwin on Trial." By Phillip E. Johnson, Regnery Gateway: Washington DC, 1991. Scientific American, Vol. 267, No.1, July 1992, pp.92-95, p.92) 7/02/2002 "Bethell's argument has a curious ring for most practicing scientists. We are always ready to watch a theory fall under the impact of new data, but we do not expect a great and influential theory to collapse from a logical error in its formulation. Virtually every empirical scientist has a touch of the Philistine. Scientists tend to ignore academic philosophy as an empty pursuit. Surely, any intelligent person can think straight by intuition. Yet Bethell cites no data at all in sealing the coffin of natural selection, only an error in Darwin's reasoning: "Darwin made a mistake sufficiently serious to undermine his theory. And that mistake has only recently been recognized as such.... At one point in his argument, Darwin was misled." Although I will try to refute Bethell, I also deplore the unwillingness of scientists to explore seriously the logical structure of arguments. Much of what passes for evolutionary theory is as vacuous as Bethell claims. Many great theories are held together by chains of dubious metaphor and analogy. Bethell has correctly identified the hogwash surrounding evolutionary theory." (Gould, S.J., "Darwin's Untimely Burial," in "Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, pp.39-40) 7/02/2002 "The three chapters collectively argue that Homo sapiens possesses a small number of unique qualities that are present in no other animal. Uniqueness is common in biology. Snakes shed their skin, dogs do not; bears hibernate, cats do not; monkeys form dominance hierarchies, mice do not. Humans experience guilt, shame, and pride, anticipate events far in the future, invent metaphors, speak a language with a grammar, and reason about hypothetical circumstances. No other species, including apes, possesses this set of talents." (Kagan, J., "Three Seductive Ideas," Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, 1998, p.9) 8/02/2002 "More philosophical works have been written on morality than on any, other human quality because it is a unique and distinctive characteristic of our species. Every species inherits potentialities that make the acquisition of particular competencies easy. Talking comes readily to humans, while reading usually requires special tutoring. Assigning the symbolic labels good or bad to experience also comes easily to humans, and this disposition permeates our actions, beliefs, and emotions. ... Social scientists have awarded a little too much power to the obvious desire to maximize self-interest and attain sensory pleasure and not quite enough to the universal need to be kind, loyal, and loving. This chapter does not compete with philosophical works by defending one set of ethics over another, for I ask only why humans hold any ethical position at all." (Kagan, J., "Three Seductive Ideas," Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, 1998, pp.6-7) 9/02/2002 "But put against the background of the popular, traditional alternative which Darwin's six predecessors meant it to displace-the theory of providential or guided or automatic progress-this idea takes on a sinister complexion. For the 'nature' it calls upon to undertake the work of selection, unlike man, has no purpose and no goal. Variation likewise being by chance has no purpose and no goal. The changes nature favours are not predestined to be improvements. ... Progress is not inevitable. Instead of a convergence on desirable ends we are offered only a divergence, a horribly erratic divergence, from unknown beginnings. Instead of a spiritual guidance there is a material determinism in whose operation blind accident plays a necessary and morally meaningless part. Thus the conflict between natural selection and automatic or inherent or providential direction is deeper and more abiding than the parallel conflict between evolution and creation. And it is far more important today. For the argument about evolution or creation concerns the dead past; but the argument about selection or direction concerns us now: it concerns the present we know and the future we expect." (Darlington, C.D., "Darwin's Place in History," Basil Blackwell: Oxford, 1959, pp.42-43) 9/02/2002 "There is enough light to enlighten the elect and enough obscurity to humiliate them. There is enough obscurity to blind the reprobate and enough light to condemn them and deprive them of excuse." (Pascal B., "Pensées," 236, , Krailsheimer A.J., Transl., Penguin: London, Revised edition, 1966, p.73) 9/02/2002 "And finally on the last page of his book [Descent of Man] Darwin concludes that although 'social instincts' which afforded the basis for development of the moral sense may be safely attributed' to natural selection, yet 'the moral qualities are advanced, either directly or indirectly, much more through the effects of habit, the reasoning powers, religion, etc.' (II, 404). Where are we now? In the last sentence Darwin, with the phrase 'directly or indirectly', slips into a double disguise. He puts together without distinction the known transmission of culture, religion, etc. and the unknown inheritance of acquired characters as the joint antithesis of natural selection. Thus, even the parson might suppose that his preaching contributed to evolution; and contributed moreover to a particularly progressive and hopeful form of evolution. Was the confusion here a confusion in Darwin's mind? Did he imagine he had any evidence for his conclusion? If so why did he not quote it? It would have been epoch- making. Or was he, on the contrary, unconsciously introducing confusion to throw ignorant people of the scent: to keep the serious discussion between people who were interested in the scientific problem? The immediate context favours this view as well as the autobiography." (Darlington, C.D., "Darwin's Place in History," Basil Blackwell: Oxford, 1959, pp.46-47) 10/02/2002 "One of the most fundamental claims in the Darwinian theory of evolution is that natural selection provides the only satisfactory explanation for adaptation. The Darwinian, therefore, must show that the alternatives to natural selection either do not work or are scientifically unacceptable. Let us consider the natural theologians' supernatural explanation first. We can accept that an omnipotent, supernatural agent could create welladapted living things-in that sense the explanation works. However, it has two defects. First, supernatural explanations for natural phenomena are scientifically useless. Second, the supernatural Creator is not explanatory. The problem requires us to explain the existence of adaptation in the world, but a supernatural Creator already possesses this property. Omnipotent beings are themselves well-designed, adaptively complex, entities. Thus, the thing we are trying to explain has been built into the explanation. Positing a God merely invites the question of how such a highly adaptive and well-designed thing could, in its turn, have come into existence. Theological sophistry about the perfect simplicity of God and the inexplicability of the First Cause can be ignored here: the problem is to explain adaptive complexity. The first alternative to natural selection, therefore, is a viciously circular argument, and unscientific." (Ridley M., "Evolution," Blackwell: Cambridge MA, Second Edition, 1996, p.339) 10/02/2002 "Mutations are known to occur spontaneously - i.e. without our doing anything deliberately to cause them - with low frequency. It was shown by Muller that their frequency is greatly increased by X-rays. Since that time, a number of chemical substance, have been found which increase the frequency of mutation. More important, different chemical and physical agents produce different types of change. There is nothing particularly surprising about this. For example, one class of mutagenic substances is the so-called 'base analogues'. These are molecules which bear a close chemical similarity to one of the four bases, adenine, thymine, guanine, or cytosine. When such analogues are present, a replicating DNA molecule may incorporate one of them instead of the corresponding base, the result being a mutation. Thus a particular analogue would be expected to cause mutations at particular sites within the gene, and this has been shown by Freese to be the case in viruses. Thus it is no longer possible to think of mutations as `random'. But we can abandon the concept of the randomness of mutation without accepting Lamarckism, and while continuing to hold that it is selection and not mutation which determines the direction of evolution." (Maynard Smith, J., "The Theory of Evolution," , Cambridge University Press/Canto: Cambridge UK, Third edition, Reprinted, 1993, pp.80-81) 10/02/2002 "Even proponents of the RNA world hypothesis admit that there are major problems with the prebiotic synthesis of RNA nucleotides. Writing in The RNA world, Gerald Joyce, a professor in the departments of chemistry and molecular biology at the Scripps Research Institute, California, US, and Leslie Orgel of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San Diego, US, state: 'Scientists interested in the origins of life seem to divide neatly into two classes. The first, usually but not always molecular biologists, believe that RNA must have been the first replicating molecule and that chemists are exaggerating the difficulties of nucleotide synthesis. The second group of scientists are much more pessimistic. They believe that the de novo appearance of oligonucleotides on the primitive Earth would have been a near miracle. Time will tell which is correct'." (Evans, J., "It's alive - isn't it?," Chemistry in Britain, Vol. 36, No. 5, May 2000, pp.44-47, pp.46-47) 10/02/2002 "The first point to make about Darwin's theory is that it is no longer a theory, but a fact. No serious scientist would deny the fact that evolution has occurred, just as he would not deny the fact that the earth goes around the sun. Darwin's great contributions were, first, gathering enormous masses of detailed facts that did not make sense unless evolution had occurred and, second, discovering the principle of natural selection, and so providing a mechanism of evolution that is intelligible on scientific grounds without calling in any external agency." (Huxley, J.S., "`At Random': A Television Preview," in Tax S. & Callender C., eds., "Evolution After Darwin: Issues in Evolution," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, Vol. III, 1960, p.41). 10/02/2002 "Orthodox neo-Darwinians extrapolate these even and continuous changes to the most profound structural transitions in the historyof life: by a long series of insensibly graded intermediate steps, birds are linked to reptiles, fish with jaws to their jawless ancestors. Macroevolution (major structural transition) is nothing more than microevolution (flies in bottles) extended. If black moths can displace white moths in a century, then reptiles can become birds in a few million years by the smooth and sequential summation of countless changes. The shift of gene frequencies in local populations is an adequate model for all evolutionary processes - or so the current orthodoxy states." (Gould, S.J., "The Return of the Hopeful Monster," in "The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1990, reprint, pp.155-156) 10/02/2002 "The strict version, with its emphasis on copious, minute, random variation molded with excruciating but persistent slowness by natural selection, also implied that all events of large-scale evolution (macroevolution) were the gradual, accumulated product of innumerable steps, each a minute adaptation to changing conditions within a local population. This "extrapolationist" theory denied any independence to macroevolution and interpreted all large-scale evolutionary events (origin of basic designs, long-term trends, patterns of extinction and faunal turnover) as slowly accumulated microevolution (the study of small-scale changes within species)." (Gould, S.J., "Prologue," in "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History", , Penguin: London, 1986, reprint, p.13) 10/02/2002 "Finally, the universal emergence of a moral sense at the end of the second year is so striking to those who study children that its significance is difficult to ignore. A scientist who studied only college students might agree with a statement once made by Van Quine, one of the world's most respected philosophers, that human conscience is essentially a socially constructed product built from slaps and sugarplums. But no one who has seen a three- year-old's face become tense as she fails a difficult task, or heard a small child say `Yukky' to a dirty cloth lying on a laboratory floor, would find this argument persuasive." (Kagan, J., "Three Seductive Ideas," Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, 1998, p.10) 10/02/2002 "There is simply no denying the breathtaking brilliance of the designs to be found in nature. Time and again, biologists baffled by some apparently futile or maladroit bit of bad design in nature have eventually come to see that they have underestimated the ingenuity, the sheer brilliance, the depth of insight to be discovered in one of Mother Nature's creations. Francis Crick has mischievously baptized this trend in the name of his colleague Leslie Orgel, speaking of what he calls `Orgel's Second Rule: Evolution is cleverer than you are.'" (Dennett D.C., "Darwin 's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and The Meanings of Life," , Penguin: London, 1996, reprint, p.74) 10/02/2002 "The first words chosen to name natural phenomena are always too general. Air, fire, water, and earth, which were conceived as essences, are not the four fundamental forms matter assumes. Darwin's concept of natural selection failed to distinguish between traits that persisted over generations because they were adaptive and traits that persisted simply because they were not maladaptive. Nor did Darwin award significance to the difference between a gradual extinction that was the result of the inheritance of maladaptive qualities and sudden extinction caused by an unusual ecological event, like a prolonged drought or a large asteroid striking the earth." (Kagan, J., "Three Seductive Ideas," Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, 1998, pp.76-77) 11/02/2002 "Organisms are not optimizing machines; they are historical objects, constrained by inherited Bauplane, modes of development, and mechanical properties of building materials. The answer to why theoretical morphospace is so empty in some places and so chock full in others (surely the cardinal question for a science of form) may have less to do with good performance in the Newtonian sense than with historical and developmental constraints. We need to pay much more attention to the maligned tradition of classical continental European morphology with its emphasis on constraints, history and the formal (rather than functional) properties of design and its generation." (Gould, S.J., "The promise of paleobiology as a nomothetic, evolutionary discipline," Paleobiology, Vol. 6, No. 1, January 1980, pp.96-118, p.111) 11/02/2002 "The idea of purpose or ultimate design therefore does not deny the reality or importance of the material and efficient causes studied by science, but it does suggest that intelligence might be the source of the formal causes in nature, the natural boundaries that shape the direction taken by nature's efficient causes. A convinced `teleologist,' Princeton theologian B.B. Warfield, expressed it thus, `Some lack of general philosophical acumen must be suspected when it is not fully understood that teleology is in no way inconsistent with-is rather necessarily involved with-a complete system of natural causation. Every teleological system implies a complete "causo- mechanistic" explanation as its instrument.'" (Warfield B.B., "A Review of Darwinism Today, by Vernon L. Kellogg," Princeton Theological Review, 1908, pp.640-50). (Wilcox D.L.*, "How Blind the Watchmaker?," in Templeton J.M, ed., "Evidence of Purpose: Scientists Discover the Creator," Continuum: New York NY, 1994, p.169) 11/02/2002 "To understand what Aristotle means, we must take account of what he says about causes. There are, according to him, four kinds of causes, which were called, respectively, material, formal, efficient, and final. Let us take again the man who is making a statue. The material cause of the statue is the marble, the formal cause is the essence of the statue to be produced, the efficient cause is the contact of the chisel with the marble, and the final cause is the end that the sculptor has in view. In modern terminology, the word 'cause' would be confined to the efficient cause." (Russell B., "History of Western Philosophy", George Allen & Unwin: London, 1961, p.181) 13/02/2002 "Schwartz ignores the fact that homeobox genes are selector genes. They can do nothing if the genes regulated by them are not there. It is these genes that specify in detail the adaptive structure of the organs. To be sure, turning on a homeobox gene at the wrong place can result in the appearance of an ectopic organ, but only if the genes for that organ are present in the same individual. It is totally wrong to imply that an eye could be produced by a macromutation when no eye was ever present in the lineage before. Homeotic mutations that reshuffle parts do happen, and sometimes they may have led to fixation of real evolutionary novelties, but this does not mean that such changes are implied in the majority of speciations. In fact, macromutations of this sort are probably frequently maladaptive, in contrast to the vast number of past and present species-not to mention the fact that morphological differences between related species can be minute." (Szathmary E., "When the means do no not justify the end," review of "Sudden Origins: Fossils, Genes, and the Emergence of Species," by Jeffrey H. Schwartz, Wiley,: 1999, in Nature, Vol. 399, 24 June 1999, p.745) 13/02/2002 "Few opinions of men are sacrosanct, and Evolution is merely one view of how the world of Nature reached its present status. The loud and persistent attestations that it is not theory but "fact" merely serve to indicate how shaky some of its foundations are." (Shute E.*, "Flaws in the Theory of Evolution," , Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1980 , Eighth Printing, p.230) 14/02/2002 "In the world of ideas dogma focuses thinking. In a given domain it acts to eliminate or suppress alternative habits of thought. Successful scientific ideas often begin life as playful and potentially fruitful possibilities (circumventing the received teachings) because they appear to solve a pressing problem; they mature into acceptance and then freeze over, if you like, into dogma. Really useful dogmas allow us to economise our time and effort in not constantly reinventing the wheel. Scientific dogmas' can be very useful and are only given up after vigorous and often sustained resistance. They are strongly defended-often literally to the death of the main intellectual players-precisely because they have allowed the fruitful development of a successful school of thought and have usually been of practical significance to mankind." (Steele E.J., Lindley R.A. & Blanden R.V., "Lamarck's Signature: How Retrogenes are Changing Darwin's Natural Selection Paradigm," Allen & Unwin: St Leonards NSW, Australia, 1998, pp.xviii-xix) 14/02/2002 "It is hard to overstate the impact that these physical images have had in shaping our world view. The doctrine that the physical Universe consists of inert matter locked into a sort of gigantic deterministic clockwork has penetrated all branches of human inquiry. Materialism dominates biology, for example. Living organisms are regarded as nothing more than complicated collections of particles, each being blindly pulled and pushed by its neighbours. Richard Dawkins, an eloquent champion of biological materialism, describes human beings (and other living entitles) as 'gene machines'. Thus, organisms are treated as automata. ... There is no doubt that the Newtonian world view, with its doctrine of materialism and the clockwork universe, has contributed immensely to the advance of science by providing a highly intuitive framework within which to study a wide range of phenomena. But there is equally no doubt that it has also contributed in large part to alienating human beings from the Universe they inhabit. ... People feel a sense of helplessness; they are merely 'cogs' in a machine that will lumber on regardless of their feelings or actions. Many people have rejected scientific values because they regard materialism as a sterile and bleak philosophy, which reduces human beings to automata and leaves no room for free will or creativity. These people can take heart: materialism is dead." (Davies, P.C.W. & Gribbin J., "The Matter Myth: Beyond Chaos and Complexity," , Penguin: London, 1992, reprint, pp.6-7) 14/02/2002 "DNA governs the operation of every cell in our bodies. A cell is a busy place, a city of large and small molecules all constructed according to information encoded in DNA. The metaphor of a city may seem even more farfetched than that of a skyscraper for an invisibly small cell until you consider that a cell has room for more than a hundred million million atoms; that is plenty of space for millions of different molecules, since even the largest molecules in a cell are made of only a few hundred million atoms. DNA ensures that a cell is not just a chemical soup but a molecular city with a center from which critical information flows, a molecular version of King David's Jerusalem. That walled city, with its supply of food and water entering through special portals and channels, had a great temple at the center and a book at the very center of the temple. A cell's version of the temple is the nucleus, a membrane wrapped receptacle enclosing the cell's DNA. The nucleus is also the hub from which portions of the text are delivered to the cell, just as the sacred scripts were read to the people of Jerusalem from the entrances of the temple. ... If a cell were as big as the Old City of Jerusalem, each chemical "letter" in the cell's DNA text - consisting of a few hundred atoms - would be about as big as letter in a word of any familiar book. Yet every part of the cell, no matter how complex its form or function, is made according to information contained in the DNA folded into its nucleus. To appreciate this triumph of molecular origami, consider that the DNA in one human cell, if unwound and straightened out, would be a pair of molecules each about one yard long. A yard of DNA is a hundred million times longer than it is wide, and this exquisite thinness is the key to its ability to fit inside the nucleus. The pair of yard-long DNAs in a human cell are so slender that about ten billion copies, laid side by side like the wires of a telephone cable, would fit inside a waist-length human hair. That is about as many pairs of human DNA as there are people on the planet today; a genetic archive of our entire species could therefore be tightly packed into one long human hair if we had the means (and the desire) to do it." (Pollack R., "Signs of Life: The Language and Meanings of DNA," , Penguin Books: London, 1995, reprint, pp.18-19) 15/02/2002 "Mayr, professor emeritus of zoology at Harvard University, asserts that the term `evolutionary theory' should be abandoned. Evolution, he says, `is a fact so overwhelmingly established that it has become irrational to call it a theory.'" (Anonymous, "The Editors Recommend." Book "What Evolution Is." By Ernst Mayr, Basic Books, New York, 2001, Scientific American, February, 2002, p.85. http://www.sciam.com/books/?section=review&issue_date=01-feb-2002). 15/02/2002 "Nevertheless, Darwin's theory still had some serious imperfections that prevented its being accepted by many students of evolution. The theory explained why unfit or inadaptive types of organisms tend to be eliminated, but it did not seem adequately to explain the much more important origin of more fit, better adapted organisms. It also failed to explain why evolution is not completely adaptive-why different types of organisms may evolve even though their relationships with the environment seem to be exactly the same, why adaptation is seldom or never perfect, and why non-adaptive characters (those not involved in adaptation) and inadaptive characters (those opposed to harmonious adaptation) do often arise in evolution. These features of evolution were not well explained by the older forms of Darwinian theory and their reality was abundantly demonstrated by critics of Darwin." (Simpson G.G., "Horses: The Story of the Horse Family in the Modern World and through Sixty Million Years of History," , The Natural History Library, Doubleday & Co: Garden City NY, 1961, reprint, p.293) 16/02/2002 "The debate on evolution between the creationists and the neo-Darwinists is not just sterile, it misses the central issue, which is that neo-Darwinism is wrong and dangerous. It is promoting and misguiding a runaway technology that has the potential to destroy all life on earth. It reinforces a worldview that undermines every single moral value that makes us human. It is also obstructing and preventing the necessary shift to holistic ecological sciences that can connect to the organic revolution rising from the grassroots all over the world, which can truly regenerate the earth and revitalize the human spirit." (Ho M-W., "The End of Bad Science and Beginning Again with Life," Conference on "The Limit of Natural Selection", French Senate, Paris, March 18, 2000, in Institute of Science in Society, London, 2000. http://www.twnside.org.sg/title/bad.htm) 17/02/2002 "In days long gone, the second law of thermodynamics (which predated the first law) was regarded as perhaps the most perfect and unassailable law in physics. It was even supposed to have philosophical import: It has been hailed for providing a proof of the existence of God (who started the universe off in a state of low entropy, from which it is constantly degenerating); conversely, it has been rejected as being incompatible with dialectical materialism and the perfectibility of the human condition. ... No exception to the second law of thermodynamics has ever been found-not even a tiny one. Like conservation of energy (the "first" law), the existence of a law so precise and so independent of details of models must have a logical foundation that is independent of the fact that matter is composed of interacting particles." (Lieb E.H. & Yngvason J., "A Fresh Look at Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics," Physics Today, April 2000, pp.32-37, p.32) 19/02/2002 "It is, however, the word "struggle" that has led to most serious misunderstanding of the process of natural selection, along with a host of related phrases and ideas, "nature red in fang and claw," "class struggle" as a natural and desirable element in societal evolution, and all the rest. "Struggle" inevitably carries the connotation of direct and conscious combat. Such combat does occur in nature, to be sure, and it may have some connection with differential reproduction. A puma and a deer may struggle, one to kill and the other to avoid being killed. If the puma wins, it eats and presumably may thereby be helped to produce offspring, while the deer dies and will never reproduce again. Two stags may struggle in rivalry for does and the successful combatant may then reproduce while the loser does not. Even such actual struggles may have only slight effects on reproduction, although they will, on an average, tend to exercise some selective influence. The deer most likely to be killed by the puma is too old to reproduce; if the puma does not get the deer, it will eat something else; the losing stag finds other females, or a third enjoys the does while the combat rages between these two." (Simpson G.G., "The Meaning of Evolution: A Study of the History of Life and of its Significance for Man," , Yale University Press: New Haven CT, 1960, reprint, pp.221-222) 19/02/2002 "The mystery about sexual reproduction is ... that there is a ... 'cost of halving the chromosome number and not being able to double the number of gametes ... what possible advantage there could be to sexual reproduction that makes up for this cost and accounts for its persistence. This question has caused some embarrassment to evolutionary biologists in the past. Although determined to fit everything into a selective framework and see shifting gene frequencies as the basis of all evolutionary events, they were unable to come up with any satisfactory explanation of the phenomenon that is at once extremely widespread and also appears to suffer from a selective disadvantage of quite enormous (50 per cent) proportions. Early explanations, that it was 'good for the species' to have the variation that is engendered by the mixing and shuffling of sex, had largely to be discarded. It was an attractive idea to think that sexual reproduction might result in variation staying in populations so that if the environment suddenly changed, the population could 'cope' and have at least some of its members surviving, which a uniform asexual population might fail to do. But by the end of the 1960s, the weakness of such arguments was generally realized. .... Populations do not harbour deleterious traits against the possibility of future benefit. We cannot expect a trait, to use Sydney Brenner's immortal words, to evolve in the Cambrian 'because it might come in handy in the Cretaceous'." (Dawkins M.S., "Unravelling Animal Behaviour," Longman: Harlow, Essex UK, 1986, p.135) 19/02/2002 "The word "competition," used in discussion here and previously, may also carry anthropomorphic undertones and then be subject to some of these same objections. It may, however, and in this connection it must, be understood without necessary implication of active competitive behavior. Competition in evolution often or usually is entirely passive; It could conceivably occur without the competing forms ever coming into sight or contact." (Simpson G.G., "The Meaning of Evolution: A Study of the History of Life and of its Significance for Man," , Yale University Press: New Haven CT, 1960, reprint, p.222) 21/02/2002 "The study of adaptation seems to show the opposite mode of development. It has already had its Newtonian synthesis, but its Galileo and Kepler have not yet appeared. The 'Newtonian synthesis" is the genetical theory of natural selection, a logical unification of Mendelism and Darwinism that was accomplished by Fisher, Haldane, and Wright more than thirty years ago. For all its formal elegance, however, this theory has provided very limited guidance in the work of biologists. Ordinarily it does little more than to give a vague aura of validity to conclusions on adaptive evolution and to enable a biologist to refer to goal-directed activities without descending into teleology. The inherent strength of the theory is restricted by the paucity of generalizations, analogous to Kepler's laws, that can serve on the one hand as summaries of large masses of observations and, on the other hand, as logical deductions from the theory." (Williams G.C., "Adaptation and Natural Selection: A Critique of Some Current Evolutionary Thought," , Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ, 1996, reprint, p.20) 21/02/2002 "A frequently helpful but not infallible rule is to recognize adaptation in organic systems that show a clear analogy with human implements. There are convincing analogies between bird wings and airship wings, between bridge suspensions and skeletal suspensions, between the vascularization of a leaf and the water supply of a city. In all such examples, conscious human goals have an analogy in the biological goal of survival, and similar problems are often resolved by similar mechanisms. Such analogies may forcefully occur to a physiologist at the beginning of an investigation of a structure or process and provide a continuing source of fruitful hypotheses. At other times the purpose of a mechanism may not be apparent initially, and the search for the goal becomes a motivation for further study." (Williams G.C., "Adaptation and Natural Selection: A Critique of Some Current Evolutionary Thought," , Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ, 1996, reprint, p.10) 22/02/2002 "Any biological mechanism produces at least one effect that can properly be called its goal: vision for the eye or reproduction and dispersal for the apple. There may also be other effects, such as the apple's contribution to man's economy. In many published discussions it is not at all clear whether an author regards a particular effect as the specific function of the causal mechanism or merely as an incidental consequence. In some cases it would appear that he has not appreciated the importance of the distinction. In this book I will adhere to a terminological convention that may help to reduce this difficulty. Whenever I believe that an effect is produced as the function of an adaptation perfected by natural selection to serve that function, I will use terms appropriate to human artifice and conscious design. The designation of something as the means or mechanism for a certain goal or function or purpose will imply that the machinery involved was fashioned by selection for the goal attributed to it." (Williams G.C., "Adaptation and Natural Selection: A Critique of Some Current Evolutionary Thought," , Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ, 1996, reprint, pp.8-9. Emphasis in original). 22/02/2002 "The same story could be told for every normal part or activity of every stage in the life history of every species in the biota of the Earth, past or present. For the same reason that it was once effective in the theological "argument from design," the structure of the vertebrate eye can be used as a dramatic illustration of biological adaptation and the necessity for believing that natural selection for effective vision must have operated throughout the history of the group." (Williams G.C., "Adaptation and Natural Selection: A Critique of Some Current Evolutionary Thought," , Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ, 1996, reprint, p.6) 23/02/2002 "The account of evolution given above is based on molecular and historical evidence and on our knowledge of the living world as it is today. Many events were postulated without direct evidence. Because of the lack of hard evidence, it might be said that the concept of evolution is abstract, theoretical, possibly a figment of the imagination. The question therefore arises: can we reproduce evolution in the laboratory? Obviously, we cannot do so using long-extinct creatures or large present-day animals. Because evolutionary events take place over many generations, it would take centuries to experiment with mice, say. But we can design an experiment using fast-reproducing organisms like bacteria or fruitflies." (Dulbecco R., "The Design of Life," Yale University Press: New Haven CT, 1987, p.439. Emphasis in original) 23/02/2002 "What is the theory of evolution? It is very easy to find out in a vague way, but very difficult to find out in a precise way. This is because it is really two theories, the vague theory and the precise theory. The vague theory has been abundantly proved, with an overwhelming mass of evidence, so much that it cannot possibly be doubted. The precise theory has never been proved at all. However, like relativity, it is accepted as a faith. Vague evolution is rather difficult to formulate, because it is vague, but it is extremely easy to see. Any book on biology is full of it, and it has been so thoroughly popularized that there is hardly anybody who is not aware of it. It points to the striking similarities, in every detail, between the bodies of men and of the apes; to the slightly more distant resemblances between men and other mammals, to the duck-billed platypus, which Huxley called "a museum of reptilian reminiscence," to the reptiles themselves, to the fish, both bony and cartilaginous, and so on and so on, as can be found in many a fine book. It points, too, to the development of the embryo, "climbing up the family tree," and to the record of the rocks-there were fish before there were reptiles, reptiles before mammals. Whatever this proves-and it would seem to prove that all forms of life are connected in some way-is indisputable. But in what way? To answer this question, we need a precise theory. The precise theory of evolution is that all forms of life on the earth today came from some original form of life by a series of changes which, at every point, were natural and explainable by science. ... Biologists ... by mixing up the vague theory of evolution with the precise theory ... give the impression that both have been proved, whereas the precise theory is much further from being proved than men are from flying to the moon." (Standen A., "Science Is A Sacred Cow," , E.P. Dutton & Co: New York NY, 1958, reprint, pp.101-103. Emphasis in original) 25/02/2002 "This debate is of considerable interest for two reasons. On the one hand, it points to some uncertain aspects of the concept of evolution, such as the origin of life. On the other hand, it is an important example of how humans approach objective truth. A body of facts available to everybody is used by some individuals to build a scientific theory they think is above all doubts, but is considered by others as only a fabrication leading to moral turpitude. The difference between the two groups lies in their cultural backgrounds and philosophies. There are probably few other cases where the same information is used to draw such opposing conclusions." (Dulbecco R., "The Design of Life," Yale University Press: New Haven CT, 1987, p.446) 25/02/2002 "But time, and further archaeological discoveries, would tell on the side of evolution. It still remains merely a "theory"-by its very nature, its secrets buried in time and its operations agonizingly slow, it can never be "proved" the way mechanical principles can." (Macrone M., "A Little Knowledge: What Archimedes Really Meant and 80 Other Key Ideas Explained," , Ebury Press: London, 1998, reprint, p.153) 26/02/2002 "Yet even today there is no theory of evolution, no set of rules that says under what conditions this or that will happen. Natural selection is a very general explanation of how evolution occurs, but not when or why. As with any historical process, so many minuscule factors can affect the outcome that prediction is impossible. Two worlds, with the same plants, animals, and environment, will over time evolve radically different species (Gould, 1989). The trajectory of evolution is chaotic. Looking back in time, evolutionists can try to infer what environmental factors influenced the development of certain species, but this is little more than speculation. Too many factors are involved ever to be sure which the instigating cause was." (Cromer A., "Uncommon Sense: The Heretical Nature of Science," Oxford University Press: New York NY, 1993, p.40) 26/02/2002 "Thus changes that benefit an individual will tend to be selected and perpetuated. Most changes of this nature will be a disadvantage to a member of a species; such changes will therefore usually not be perpetuated, for a member of a species which exhibits such a change is likely to lose the battle for life, and will not reproduce. So slowly, gradually, a new species comes into existence through random mutation and natural selection of the fittest. This is the theory. It has of course never been proved. In fact it could never be proved to be the sole mechanism of evolution without a disproof of all other possible mechanisms and without positive evidence of its operation." (Montefiore H., "The Probability of God," SCM: London, 1985, pp.74-75) 26/02/2002 "In the case of human evolution, the situation is even more speculative because the fossil evidence is so spotty. Every new discovery has the potential for radically changing our views on the subject. This is a very incomplete science in which the most basic question What were the selective pressures that favored human intelligence- remains unanswered. That is, we don't know what natural selection was doing when it invented thinking." (Cromer A., "Uncommon Sense: The Heretical Nature of Science," Oxford University Press: New York NY, 1993, pp.40-41) 26/02/2002 "Biological evolution is necessarily the unbroken continuation of a long process of chemical evolution. It is possible to try to reconstitute in the laboratory the conditions that apparently prevailed on earth before the appearance of living organisms. Whole series of organic compounds are then seen to form spontaneously. Even polymers can arise by chance associations between the subunits. Although inefficient, the reactions required for producing the macromolecules characteristic of living organisms really seem to occur without biological catalysts. Yet it is difficult to imagine the appearance of an integrated system, however primitive; the origin of an organization able to reproduce even badly, even slowly. For the humblest organism, the simplest bacterium, is already a coalition of enormous numbers of molecules. It is out of the question for all the pieces to have been formed independently in the primeval ocean, to meet by chance one fine day, and suddenly arrange themselves in such a complex system." (Jacob F., The Logic of Life: A History of Heredity," , Trans. Spillmann B.E., Pantheon: New York NY, 1982, reprint, pp.304-305) 27/02/2002 "I have never understood how God can be the God of all the earth unless there can be real points of contact with him in addition to the Word spoken in Christ. In any case, I come from a Jewish family, and the idea that non- Christians are so totally blind that they can have no authentic knowledge of God is to me not only obnoxious but also disproved by my earlier experience. Nonetheless, the familiar discourse within the Christian church today is frequently fideist, speaking in a language of faith which seems to have little relevance to the ordinary workings of the world in which we live, and which makes sense only within the charmed circle of Christian believers. This has added to the marginalization of the church, against which I have taken up my pen to write this book. If God created the universe, then we would expect to see his footsteps within it in a way which can be generally recognized by the light of reason." (Montefiore H., "The Probability of God," SCM: London, 1985, pp.5-6) 27/02/2002 "Taken together, these new studies suggest that Darwin did not know the strength of his own theory. He vastly underestimated the power of natural selection. Its action is neither rare nor slow. It leads to evolution daily and hourly, all around us, and we can watch. ... Now the Grants' work on Darwin's finches is entering the textbooks too. This is one of the most intensive and valuable animal studies ever conducted in the wild; zoologists and evolutionists already regard it as a classic. It is the best and most detailed demonstration to date of the power of Darwin's process." (Weiner J., "The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time," Alfred A. Knopf: New York NY, 1994, p.9) 27/02/2002 "The Grants are leaders of this field, and they are among its ideal representatives. Year after year they go back to the most celebrated place in the study of evolution, the place that helped lead the young Darwin to his theory: the Galapagos, the Enchanted Islands. There they observe Darwin's finches, the birds that Darwin was the first naturalist to collect; the birds whose beaks inspired his first veiled hints about his revolutionary theory; the birds whose portraits in textbooks and encyclopedias have now introduced so many generations to Darwinism that they have become international symbols of the process, totems of evolution, like the overshot brows and cumulous beard of Darwin himself." (Weiner J., "The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time," Alfred A. Knopf: New York NY, 1994, p.9) 27/02/2002 "The beak of the finch is an icon of evolution the way the Bohr atom is an icon of modern physics, and the study of either one shows us more primal energy and eternal change than our minds are built to take in. Yet like the vista of the atoms, the vista of evolution in action, of evolution in the flesh, has enormous implications for our sense of reality, of what life is, and also for our sense of power, of what we can do with life." (Weiner J., "The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time," Alfred A. Knopf: New York NY, 1994, p.112) 27/02/2002 "It is difficult for a nonscientist to appreciate the overriding importance to the researcher of priority of discovery. Credit in science goes only for originality, for being the first to discover something. With rare exceptions, there are no rewards for being second. Discovery without priority is a bitter fruit. In the clash of rival claims and competing theories, a scientist often takes active measures to ensure that his ideas are noticed, and that it is under his name that a new finding is recognized. The desire to win credit, to gain the respect of one's peers, is a powerful motive for almost all scientists. From the earliest days of science, the thirst for recognition has brought with it the temptation to `improve' a little on the truth, or even to invent data out of whole cloth, in order to make a theory prevail." (Broad W. & Wade N., "Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science," Simon and Schuster: New York NY, 1982, p.24) 27/02/2002 "For want of vestiges to examine, biology is reduced to making conjectures. It tries to arrange the problems in series, to individualize the objects and formulate questions that can be answered by experiments. Which of the polymers, nucleic acid or protein, came first? What is the origin of the genetic code? The first question leads one to speculate whether anything vaguely like a living organism would be conceivable without both types of polymer. The second raises problems both of evolution and of logic. Of evolution, because univocal correspondence between each group of three nucleic-acid sub units and each protein sub-unit cannot have arisen at a single stroke. Of logic, because it is difficult to perceive why this particular correspondence was adopted rather than another; why one nucleic-acid triplet 'means' a certain protein sub-unit and not another. Perhaps primitive organizations had some constraints of structure we know nothing about: it would then be the adjustment of molecular conformations that would have imposed, if not the whole system at least some of its equivalences. But again perhaps there was no constraint at all: then it would have been purely by chance that the equivalences were produced and persisted afterwards." (Jacob F., The Logic of Life: A History of Heredity," , Trans. Spillmann B.E., Pantheon: New York NY, 1982, reprint, pp.305-306) 27/02/2002 "Darwin's independence of other people's ideas led him (and his admirers) to think of himself as a man of ideas. It led him to copy out the observations from his predecessor's writings while ignoring their theories. His own methods nourished his own illusions. He began more and more to grudge praise to those who had in fact paved the way for him. We see this very well if we compare him with his contemporaries. Chambers and Naudin both praised Lamarck at the same time that both of them rejected him. Darwin damned Lamarck and also his grandfather for being very ill-dressed fellows at the same moment that he was engaged on stealing their clothes. He ridicules Lamarck's speculations and caps them with his own. He scorns Buffon's 'fluctuating opinions' while he himself is fluctuating from one edition to another, even from one chapter to another. And fluctuating with an opportunism which he judiciously strives to conceal." (Darlington, C.D., "Darwin's Place in History," Basil Blackwell: Oxford, 1959, p.62) 27/02/2002 "The idea that Darwinism's rapid triumph was solely scientific without regard to his and others' courting of public opinion, is a historical myth that assures us of the power of science and its victory on the merits of evidence regardless of ideology, religion, or social mores. It is the same with the myth of Huxley's triumph over Wilberforce. The culture of science and science historians have created a myth which fits very well a history that depicts the intellectual, even moral, superiority of science." (Caudill E., "Darwinian Myths: The Legends and Misuses of a Theory," The University of Tennessee Press: Knoxville TN, 1997, p.xiv) 28/02/2002 "In the literal sense of the word, no doubt, natural selection is a false term; but who ever objected to chemists speaking of the elective affinities of the various elements?-and yet an acid cannot strictly be said to elect the base with which it in preference combines. It has been said that I speak of natural selection as an active power or Deity; but who objects to an author speaking of the attraction of gravity as ruling the movements of the planets? Everyone knows what is meant and is implied by such metaphorical expressions; and they are almost necessary for brevity. So again it is difficult to avoid personifying the word Nature; but I mean by Nature, only the aggregate action and product of many natural laws, and by laws the sequence of events as ascertained by us. With a little familiarity such superficial objections will be forgotten." (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.81) 28/02/2002 "Whereas Darwin emphasized that only certain organisms survive to reproduce, modern evolutionists emphasize differential reproduction. Certain organisms can acquire a greater share of available resources; if they have the ability to reproduce, then their chances of successful reproduction are greater than those that are not as well equipped to capture resources. (Mader S.S., "Biology," , Wm. C. Brown Co: Dubuque IA, Third Edition, 1990, p.287) 28/02/2002 "Natural selection can be defined simply as the differential reproduction of alternative genetic variants, determined by the fact that some variants increase the chances of survival and reproduction of their carriers relative to the carriers of other variants. Natural selection may be due to differential survival or differential fertility, or both." (Ayala F.J. & Kiger J.A. Jr., "Modern Genetics," , Benjamin/Cummings: Menlo Park CA, Second Edition, 1984, p.800) 28/02/2002 "Although many details remain to be worked out, it is already evident that all the objective phenomena of the history of life can be explained by purely materialistic factors. They are readily explicable on the basis of differential reproduction in populations (the main factor in the modern conception of natural selection) and of the mainly random interplay of the known processes of heredity." (Simpson G.G., "The Meaning of Evolution: A Study of the History of Life and of its Significance for Man," , Yale University Press: New Haven CT, 1960, reprint, p.343) 28/02/2002 "Like most revolutionary ideas, social Darwinism was a highly malleable concept; it was easily interpreted to support very different values, and that is exactly what occurred. Second, social Darwinism was empirical an attribute that gave it credibility, especially in America and Germany, two cultures which were quite taken with science and technology. Third, social Darwinism easily appealed to the educated middle and upper classes, whose social and economic superiority it explained in terms of scientific law. Finally, the idea ostensibly was fairly straightforward and without moral complexities and burdens. Social Darwinism had these attributes while retaining the imprimatur of scientific truth. This last point also explains why different groups have adopted one or two of the three myths discussed in this book." (Caudill E., "Darwinian Myths: The Legends and Misuses of a Theory," The University of Tennessee Press: Knoxville TN, 1997, p.xiii. Emphasis in original) 28/02/2002 "In Hitler's eyes Christianity was a religion fit only for slaves; he detested its ethics in particular. Its teaching, he declared, was a rebellion against the natural law of selection by struggle and the survival of the fittest. 'Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.' From political considerations he restrained his anti-clericalism, seeing clearly the dangers of strengthening the Church by persecution. For this reason he was more circumspect than some of his followers, like Rosenberg and Bormann, in attacking the Church publicly. But, once the war was over, he promised himself, he would root out and destroy the influence of the Christian Churches. 'The evil that is gnawing our vitals,' he remarked in February 1942, 'is our priests, of both creeds. I can't at present give them the answer they've been asking for but ... it's all written down in my big book. The time will come when I'll settle my account with them.... They'll hear from me all right. I shan't let myself be hampered with judicial samples.'" (Bullock A., "Hitler: A Study in Tyranny," , Odhams Books: London, Revised Edition, 1964, p.389) 28/02/2002 "Hitler's belief in his own destiny held him back from a thoroughgoing atheism. 'The Russians,' he remarked on one occasion, 'were entitled to attack their priests, but they had no right to assail the idea of a supreme force. It's a fact that we're feeble creatures and that a creative force exists.' ... What interested Hitler was power, and his belief in Providence or Destiny was only a projection of his own sense of power. He had no feeling or understanding for either the spiritual side of human life or its emotional, affective side. Emotion to him was the raw material of power. The pursuit of power cast its harsh shadow like a blight over the whole of his life. " (Bullock A., "Hitler: A Study in Tyranny," , Odhams Books: London, Revised Edition 1964, p.390). 28/02/2002 "The truth is that, in matters of religion at least, Hitler was a rationalist and a materialist. `The dogma of Christianity,' he declared in one of his wartime conversations, gets worn away before the advances of science.... Gradually the myths crumble All that is left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic. When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light, but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.... The man who lives in communion with nature necessarily finds himself in opposition to the Churches, and that's why they're heading for ruin for science is bound to win." (Bullock, 1964, p.389). 28/02/2002 "The Leader of Germany is an evolutionist not only in theory, but, as millions know to their cost, in the rigour of its practice. For him the national "front" of Europe is also the evolutionary "front"; he regards himself, and is regarded, as the incarnation of the will of Germany, the purpose of that will being to guide the evolutionary destiny of its people. He has brought into modern life the tribal and evolutionary mentality of prehistoric times. Hitler has confronted the statesmen of the world with an evolutionary problem of an unprecedented magnitude. What is the world to do with a united aggressive tribe numbering eighty millions!" (Keith A., "The Behaviour of Germany Considered from an Evolutionary Point of View in 1942," in "Essays on Human Evolution," , Watts & Co: London, Third Impression, 1947, p.8) 28/02/2002 "Hitler is also a eugenist. Germans who suffer from hereditable imperfections of mind or of body must be rendered infertile, so that as `the strong may not be plagued by the weak.' Sir Francis Galton, the founder of eugenics, taught a somewhat similar evolutionary doctrine-namely, that if our nation was to prosper we must give encouragement to the strong rather than to the weak; a saying which may be justified by evolution, but not by ethics as recognized and practised by civilized peoples. The liberties of German women are to be sacrificed; they must devote their activities to their households, especially to the sacred duty of raising succeeding generations. The birth-rate was stimulated by bounties and subsidies, so that the German tribe might grow in numbers and in strength. In all these matters the Nazi doctrine is evolutionist." (Keith, A., "The Behaviour of Germany Considered from an Evolutionary Point of View in 1942," in "Essays on Human Evolution," , Watts & Co: London, Third Impression, 1947, p.9) 28/02/2002 "Hitler has sought on every occasion and in every way to heighten the national consciousness of the German people-or, what is the same thing, to make them racially conscious; to give them unity of spirit and unity of purpose. Neighbourly approaches of adjacent nations are and were repelled; the German people were deliberately isolated. Cosmopolitanism, liberality of opinion, affectation of foreign manners and dress, were unsparingly condemned. The old tribal bonds (love of the Fatherland, feeling of mutual kinship), the bonds of "soil and blood," became "the main plank in the National-Social programme." "Germany was for the Germans" was another plank. Foreign policy was "good or bad according to its beneficial or harmful effects on the German Volk-now or hereafter." "Charity and humility are only for home consumption"-a statement in which Hitler gives an exact expression of the law which limits sympathy to its tribe." Humanitarianism is an evil ... a creeping poison." "The most cruel methods are humane if they give a speedy victory" is Hitler's echo of a maxim attributed to Moltke. Such are the ways of evolution when applied to human affairs." (Keith A., "The Behaviour of Germany Considered from an Evolutionary Point of View in 1942," in "Essays on Human Evolution," , Watts & Co: London, Third Impression, 1947, pp.9-10. Ellipses in original) 28/02/2002 "I have said nothing about the methods employed by the Nazi leaders to secure tribal unity in Germany-methods of brutal compulsion, bloody force, and the concentration camp. Such methods cannot be brought within even a Machiavellian system of ethics, and yet may be justified by their evolutionary result." (Keith A., "The Behaviour of Germany Considered from an Evolutionary Point of View in 1942," in "Essays on Human Evolution," , Watts & Co: London, Third Impression, 1947, p.10). March [top] 1/03/2002 "This means that the materials of our proposed stock taking will be diverse: biography, criticism, history, philosophy-all converging on the same point, which is the dominance of materialism. Some of the biographical connections are of course well known. It is a commonplace that Marx felt his own work to be the exact parallel of Darwin's. He even wished to dedicate a portion of Das Kapital to the author of The Origin of Species." (Barzun J., "Darwin, Marx, Wagner: Critique of a Heritage," , Doubleday Anchor: Garden City NY, Second Edition, 1958, p.7-8) 2/03/2002 "There are, of course, degrees of difference in evaluation of successes, from healthy skepticism to confidence, that the final word has been said, and there are still some among the biologists who feel that much of the fabric of theory accepted by the majority today is actually false and who say so. For the most part, the opinions of the dissenters have been given little credence. This group has formed a vocal, but little heard, minority." (Olson E.C., "Morphology, Paleontology, and Evolution," in Tax S., ed., "Evolution After Darwin," Vol. I, "The Evolution of Life: Its Origin, History and Future," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, 1960, p.523) 3/03/2002 "There exists, as well, a generally silent group of students engaged in biological pursuits who tend to disagree with much of the current thought but say and write little because they are not particularly interested, do not see that controversy over evolution is of any particular importance, or are so strongly in disagreement that it seems futile to undertake the monumental task of controverting the immense body of information and theory that exists in the formulation of modern thinking. It is, of course, difficult to judge the size and composition of this silent segment, but there is no doubt that the numbers are not in considerable. Wrong or right as such opinion may be, its existence is important and cannot be ignored or eliminated as a force in the study of evolution." (Olson E.C., "Morphology, Paleontology, and Evolution," in Tax S., ed., "Evolution After Darwin," Vol. I, "The Evolution of Life: Its Origin, History and Future," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, 1960, p.523) 4/03/2002 "In North America the black bear was seen by Hearne swimming for hours with widely open mouth, thus catching, like a whale, insects in the water. [Even in so extreme a case as this, if the supply of insects were constant, and if better adapted competitors did not already exist in the country, I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural selection, more and more aquatic in their structure and habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale]." (Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," , First Edition, Penguin: London, 1985, reprint, p.215. The words in square brackets were removed by Darwin in subsequent editions.) 5/03/2002 "Consider the engineering problem that mitosis must solve. Identical chromatids, called sister chromatids, the result of chromosomal replication, must separate so that each goes into a different daughter cell (see fig. 3.3). These chromatids are the visible manifestation of the chromosomal replication that has taken place in the S phase of the cell cycle. The chromatids are initially held together; each will be called a chromosome when it separates and becomes independent. Each of the two daughter cells then ends up with a chromosome complement identical to that of the parent cell. Mitosis is nature's elegant process to achieve that end-surely an engineering marvel." (Tamarin R.H., "Principles of Genetics," International Edition, , McGraw-Hill: New York NY, Seventh Edition, 2002, p.52) 5/03/2002 "MEIOSIS Gamete formation presents an entirely new engineering problem to be solved. To form gametes in animals (and, for the most part, to form spores in plants), a diploid organism with two copies of each chromosome must form daughter cells that have only one copy of each chromosome. In other words, the genetic material must be reduced by half so that when gametes recombine to form zygotes, the original number of chromosomes is restored, not doubled. If we were to try to engineer this task, we would first need to be able to recognize homologous chromosomes We could then push one member of each pair into one daughter cell and the other into the other daughter cell. If we were unable to recognize homologues, we would not he able to ensure that each daughter cell received one and only one member of each pair The cell solves this problem by pairing up homologous chromosomes during an extended prophase. The spindle apparatus then separates members of the homologous chromosome pairs, just as it separates sister chromatids during mitosis. But there is one complication. As in mitosis, cells entering meiosis have already replicated their chromosomes. Therefore, two nuclear divisions without an intervening chromosome replication are necessary to produce haploid gametes or spores. Meiosis is, then, a two-division process that produces four cells from each original parent cell. The two divisions are known as meiosis I and meiosis II." (Tamarin R.H., "Principles of Genetics," International Edition, , McGraw-Hill: New York NY, Seventh Edition, 2002, pp.55-56) 5/03/2002 "Ironically, one of the few hypotheses championed by Ridley that is readily amenable to experimental testing- Alexey Kondrashov's theory of the origin of sex-has recently indeed been tested, and found wanting. Kondrashov suggested that sex evolved to shuffle deleterious mutations, thereby facilitating the survival of individuals with relatively few mutations and the selective elimination of individuals with many. The theory requires that overall mutation rates in sexual species should therefore exceed the critical one-per-genome-per- generation threshold. However, a recent empirical study of mutation rates found that a substantial proportion of sexual species do not meet this criterion." (Berry A., "Mitigating mutations." Review of "The Cooperative Gene," by Mark Ridley, Simon & Schuster/Weidenfeld, 2001, Nature, Vol. 412, 26 July 2001, pp.379-380, p.380) 6/03/2002 "The phrases `selfish genes' and `inclusive fitness' have the misleading implication that proximal causes are less interesting and less important than evolutionary ones. But my understanding of why an eighteen-year old girl in Bangkok, working as a streetwalker, sends her earnings to the parents who sold her into prostitution is not enhanced very much by being told that she does so to maximize the reproductive fitness of those who share her genes." (Kagan, J., "Three Seductive Ideas," Harvard University Press: Cambridge MA, 1998, pp.189-190) 6/03/2002 "Today the competitive nature of industrialized societies favors excessive self-interest over loyalty, and some scientists, helped by clever journalists, imply that we need not feel excessive shame or guilt over these narcissistic urges, for the same behaviors are observed every day in the animal kingdom. ... Even though second marriages with stepchildren exist in no species but our own, some evolutionary scholars have suggested that the abuse of stepchildren is partly due to our evolutionary past. The behavior of bees is most often cited as evidence for a broadly based urge to be kind only to those who share our genes. These writers ignore the fact that the vast majority of stepchildren are treated with affection. More important, these writers are unperturbed by the fact that the relation between an adult and a stepchild has no analogue in monkeys, chimps, or gorillas. The more correct Darwinian inference for this social fact is that humans are qualitatively different from their ancestors, for they are the only primate to give benevolent care to juveniles who are not genetically related to them. The logic of evolutionary psychology-that what exists was probably biologically advantageous at some point in our primate history-cannot explain the small number of cases of stepchild abuse, any more than it can explain other infrequent human phenomena such as sky diving, masochism, suicide, and hyper activity." (Kagan, J., "Three Seductive Ideas," Harvard University Press: Cambridge MA, 1998, p.189) 6/03/2002 "Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene is really an update on Samuel Butler's old adage from the turn of the century that 'the hen is merely the egg's way of ensuring another egg'. According to Dawkins genes use bodies as temporary residences in the long-term battle for survival, and any action selected (on the part of an individual, family, or group) will be one which enhances the gene's chances of survival. This idea is little more than verbal sleight of hand-a clever restatement of the fact that closely related creatures will help one another-and it is misleading in two ways. First it implies that selection can act on single genes in isolation. This seems a ludicrous oversimplification in view of what is understood about gene interaction and the 'cogency' of the genetic compliment of a creature. Second it overlooks the fact that in the majority of creatures selection acts on the entire creature, not on single component parts. How can a single organism acting as a 'prison' for tens of thousands of 'selfish' genes satisfy all their urges at once? And, if all their urges coincide, then why talk of selfish genes at all, why not stick to whole organisms?" (Leith B., "The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinism," Collins: London, 1982, pp.57-58) 7/03/2002 "For millions or even billions of years, bacteria have not transgressed the structural frame within which they have always fluctuated and still do. It is a fact that microbiologists can see in their cultures species of bacteria oscillating around an intermediate form, but this does not mean that two phenomena, which are quite distinct, should be confused; the variation of the genetic code because of a DNA copy error, and evolution. To vary and to evolve are two different things; this can never be sufficiently emphasized, and we will try to prove that this proposition is correct later in the book. Bacteria, which are both the first and the most simple living beings to have appeared, are excellent subject material for genetic and biochemical study, but they are of little evolutionary value." (Grasse P.-P., "Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation," Academic Press: New York NY, 1977, p.6) 8/03/2002 "The simplistic predictions of neo-Darwinism have not been fulfilled by the growing body of observations of natural selection. Natural selection is extremely difficult to pin down and measure, and what measurements there are suggest that it is less powerful-or at least much less predictable -than was previously expected. Neutralism, the idea that a high proportion of gene variation may have little influence on survival, appears to be a tenable alternative in many, if not most, cases of observed variation. It could be that the whole approach to the study of adaptation has so far been at fault and that the neo-Darwinian obsession with demonstrating selection has been misguided. A study of the factors limiting evolution, such as inheritance, or developmental pathways, or simple architectural or engineering considerations, may prove more fruitful than a continued search for the 'driving force'. It may even turn out that selection is simply uninteresting; not right, or wrong, but merely unilluminating." (Leith B., "The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinism," Collins: London, 1982, p.58) 9/03/2002 "This is also a book about God ... or perhaps about the absence of God. The word God fills these pages. Hawking embarks on a quest to answer Einstein's famous question about whether God had any choice in creating the universe. Hawking is attempting, as he explicitly states, to understand the mind of God. And this makes all the more unexpected the conclusion of the effort, at least so far: a universe with no edge in space, no beginning or end in time, and nothing for a Creator to do." (Sagan C., "Introduction," to Hawking S.W., "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes," , Bantam: London, 1991, reprint, pp.x-xi. Ellipses in original) 9/03/2002 "At the time of Darwin's historic voyage, most scientists-and nonscientists as well-still believed in the theory of "special creation." According to this idea, the many different kinds of living organisms were each created (or otherwise came into existence) in their present form. ... Particularly important in the genesis of Darwin's ideas were the plants and animals he observed during a stay of some five weeks in the Galapagos Islands, an archipelago that lies in equatorial waters some 950 kilometers off the coast of Ecuador ... There he made two important observations. First, he noted that the plants and animals found on the islands, although distinctive, were similar to those on the nearby South American mainland. If each kind of plant and animal had been created separately and was unchangeable as was then generally believed, why did the plants and animals of the Galapagos not resemble those of Africa, for example, rather than those of South America? Or indeed, why were they not utterly unique, unlike organisms anywhere else on Earth? Second, people familiar with the islands pointed out variations that occurred from island to island in such organisms as the giant tortoises, after which the islands were named (galapagos is a Spanish word for "tortoise"). Sailors who took these tortoises on board and kept them as sources of fresh meat on their voyages could generally tell which island any particular tortoise had come from ... If the Galapagos tortoises had been specially created, why did they not all look alike?" (Raven P.H., Evert R.F. & Eichhorn S.E., "Biology of Plants," , W.H. Freeman & Co/Worth: New York NY, Sixth Edition, 1999, p.236) 9/03/2002 "There are some striking examples in the laws of nuclear physics of numerical accidents that seem to conspire to make the universe habitable. The strength of the attractive nuclear forces is just sufficient to overcome the electrical repulsion between the positive charges in the nuclei of ordinary atoms such as oxygen or iron. But the nuclear forces are not quite strong enough to bind together two protons (hydrogen nuclei) into a bound system which would be called a diproton if it existed. If the nuclear forces had been slightly stronger than they are, the diproton would exist and almost all the hydrogen in the universe would have been combined into diprotons and heavier nuclei. Hydrogen would be a rare element, and stars like the sun, which live for a long time by the slow burning of hydrogen in their cores, could not exist. On the other hand, if the nuclear forces had been substantially weaker than they are, hydrogen could not burn at all and there would be no heavy elements. If, as seems likely, the evolution of life requires a star like the sun, supplying energy at a constant rate for billions of years, then the strength of nuclear forces had to lie within a rather narrow range to make life possible." (Dyson F.J., "Disturbing the Universe," Harper & Row: New York NY, 1979, p.250) 9/03/2002 "It is remarkable that mind enters into our awareness of nature on two separate levels. At the highest level, the level of human consciousness, our minds are somehow directly aware of the complicated flow of electrical and chemical patterns in our brains. At the lowest level, the level of single atoms and electrons, the mind of an observer is again involved in the description of events. Between lies the level of molecular biology, where mechanical models are adequate and mind appears to be irrelevant. But I, as a physicist, cannot help suspecting that there is a logical connection between the two ways in which mind appears in my universe. I cannot help thinking that our awareness of our own brains has something to do with the process which we call "observation" in atomic physics. That is to say, I think our consciousness is not just a passive epiphenomenon carried along by the chemical events in our brains, but is an active agent forcing the molecular complexes to make choices between one quantum state and another. In other words, mind is already inherent in every electron, and the processes of human consciousness differ only in degree but not in kind from the processes of choice between quantum states which we call "chance" when they are made by electrons." (Dyson F.J., "Disturbing the Universe," Harper & Row: New York NY, 1979, p.245) 9/03/2002 "A similar but independent numerical accident appears in connection with the weak interaction by which hydrogen actually burns in the sun. The weak interaction is millions of times weaker than the nuclear force. It is just weak enough so that the hydrogen in the sun burns at a slow and steady rate. If the weak interaction were much stronger or much weaker, any forms of life dependent on sunlike stars would again be in difficulties." (Dyson F.J., "Disturbing the Universe," Harper & Row: New York NY, 1979, p.250) 10/03/2002 "... recent theoretical modeling of the dynamics of solar systems suggest that a large gaseous planet occupying the same position as Jupiter does in our own solar system confers dynamical stability to the whole planetary system, ensuring that the orbits of the other smaller planets are stable over billions of years and ... because as planetary scientist George Wetherill points out, "without a large planet positioned precisely where Jupiter is, the earth would have been struck a thousand times more frequently in the past by comets and meteors and other interplanetary debris." [Wetherill G.W., "How Special is Jupiter?" Nature Vol. 373, 1995, p.470] Wetherill continues that if it were not for Jupiter "we wouldn't be around to study the origin of the solar system." ["Our Friend Jove," Discover, July 1993, p.15]." (Denton, M.J., "Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe," Free Press: New York NY, 1998, p.96) 10/03/2002 "It is true that we emerged in the universe by chance, but the idea of chance is itself only a cover for our ignorance. I do not feel like an alien in this universe. The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known that we were coming." (Dyson F.J., "Disturbing the Universe," Harper & Row: New York NY, 1979, p.250) 10/03/2002 "The age in which we live is often characterised as an age of unbelief. What is meant by such a description is specifically the rejection of belief in matters such as miracles, divine revelation, the realm of the supernatural and the existence of an afterlife lived in heaven. These are all Christian ideas and so unbelief is also the conscious rejection of a specifically Christian way of looking at the world. But to engage in such a rejection is to enter an unknown world. The Christian faith has played an important part in shaping the world that we know. The core beliefs of Christianity have helped to shape many of the values that the West has taken as axiomatic in understanding what it means to be human. To reject the basis for those values is either to reject the values themselves or to seek a new foundation for many of those same ideas. For much of our century it has been assumed by an emerging secular tradition that an appeal to reason alone will be sufficient to create the basis for a new civilisation - a new world order. But just as a new world order (based on liberal, democratic and capitalist structures) seems to be triumphant, new doubts are emerging. These doubts enable us to look afresh at our beliefs and hopes. Against all expectations, the question of religious belief is back on the agenda. This new questioning reveals that unbelief is not the same thing as no belief. It is becoming increasingly clear that we all believe something. The question is not whether we believe so much as what we believe and why we believe it. The recognition that we all have beliefs raises the additional question of what it is that shapes the framework of our belief." (Robinson M., "The Faith of the Unbeliever," Monarch: Crowborough UK, 1994, p.7) 10/03/2002 "The Origin of Species was truly radical for its time; not only did it challenge prevailing scientific views, it also shook the deepest roots of Western culture. Darwin's view of life contrasted sharply with the conventional paradigm of an Earth only a few thousand years old, populated by unchanging forms of life that had been individually made during the single week in which the Creator formed the entire universe. Darwin's book challenged a worldview that had been taught for centuries." (Campbell, Neil A. [Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside], Reece J.B. & Mitchell L.G., "Biology," , Benjamin/Cummings: Menlo Park CA, Fifth Edition, 1999, pp.414-415) 11/03/2002 "The Universal Ancestor. The genetic annealing model is an attempt to develop a consistent general picture of the universal ancestor, and it almost succeeds at this. The ancestor cannot have been a particular organism, a single organismal lineage. It was communal (13, 22), a loosely knit, diverse conglomeration of primitive cells that evolved as a unit, and it eventually developed to a stage where it broke into several distinct communities, which in their turn become the three primary lines of descent. The primary lines, however, were not conventional lineages. Each represented a progressive consolidation of the corresponding community into a smaller number of more complex cell types, which ultimately developed into the ancestor(s) of that organismal domain. The universal ancestor is not an entity, not a thing. It is a process characteristic of a particular evolutionary stage." (Woese C., "The universal ancestor," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Vol. 95, Issue 12, June 9, 1998, pp.6854-6859, p.6858) 12/03/2002 "THE COSMOS IS ALL THAT IS OR EVER WAS OR EVER WILL BE." (Sagan C., "Cosmos," , Macdonald: London, 1981, reprint, p.4. Emphasis in original) 12/03/2002 "To 'tame' chance means to break down the very improbable into less improbable small components arranged in series. No matter how improbable it is that an X could have arisen from a Y in a single step, it is always possible to conceive of a series of infinitesimally graded intermediates between them. However improbable a large-scale change may be, smaller changes are less improbable. And provided we postulate a sufficiently large series of sufficiently finely graded intermediates, we shall be able to derive anything from anything else, without invoking astronomical improbabilities." (Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, pp.317-318) 12/03/2002 "Straw man. Another way to stack the deck against the opposition is to draw a false picture of the opposing argument. Then it is easy to say, "This should be rejected because this (exaggerated and distorted) picture of it is wrong." The name of the fallacy comes from the idea that if you set up a straw man, he is easier to knock down than a real man. And that is exactly the way this fallacy works: set 'em up and knock 'em down. It is argument by caricature. It avoids dealing with the real issues by changing the opposition's views. `Creationists believe that the earth was created in 4004 B.C.' ... a distorted image of the opposing view is given. Some creationists hold to an old earth, and some who believe in a young earth don't hold to 4004 B.C. The real issue is that the earth was created, not exactly when." (Geisler, Norman L.* [President, Southern Evangelical Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina] & Brooks, Ronald M. [President, X-press Ministries], "Come, Let Us Reason: An Introduction to Logical Thinking," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1990, p.101) 14/03/2002 "There is a fifth respect in which mutation might have been nonrandom. We can imagine (just) a form of mutation that was systematically biased in the direction of improving the animal's adaptedness to its life. But although we can imagine it, nobody has ever come close to suggesting any means by which this bias could come about. It is only in this fifth respect, the 'mutationist' respect, that the true, real-life Darwinian insists that mutation is random. Mutation is not systematically biased in the direction of adaptive improvement, and no mechanism is known (to put the point mildly) that could guide mutation in directions that are non-random in this fifth sense. Mutation is random with respect to adaptive advantage, although it is non-random in all sorts of other respects. It is selection, and only selection, that directs evolution in directions that are nonrandom with respect to advantage." (Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, p.312. Emphasis in original) 14/03/2002 "It means that, theoretically, evolution can jump, in a single generation, from any point in Biomorph Land to any other. Not just any point on one plane, but any point in the entire nine-dimensional hypervolume. If, for instance, you should want to jump in one fell swoop from the insect to the fox ... we are embarking on another of those astronomical calculations. ... Jumping could theoretically get you the prize faster - in single hop. But because of the astronomical odds against success, series of small steps, each one building on the accumulated success of previous steps, is the only feasible way. ... If the mutational jump we are considering is a very large one, the number of possible destinations of that jump is astronomically large. And because, as we saw ... the number of different ways of being dead is so much greater than the number of different ways of being alive, the chances are very high that a big random jump in genetic space will end in death. Even a small random jump in genetic space is pretty likely to end in death. But the smaller the jump the less likely death is, and the more likely is it that the jump will result in improvement." (Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, pp.71- 73) 15/03/2002 "We can now see how Darwin's success was wonderfully compounded of his virtues and vices. His wide but co- ordinated interests, his systematic inquiries, and his private fortune, were all indispensable ingredients. But so also were his intellectual opportunism, his willingness or at least ability to confound theoretical issues and conceal the confusion from his indiscriminating readers by loose writing or, shall we say, by making a mystery wherever it was wanted." (Darlington, C.D., "Darwin's Place in History," Basil Blackwell: Oxford, 1959, p.63) 15/03/2002 "Lynn Margulis says: `Some smart Englishmen in the early part of this century recognised that Mendel had a very good set of rules for the stability of change through generations; those are called the rules of genetics. They also realised that Darwin had a very good explanation of the change in organisms through time. So they developed an imaginative scheme called neo-Darwinism to connect Mendel's stability with Darwin's change and they made up an incredible superstructure and attributed the sources of variation to what they called heritable mutations, ie random mutations in the genes heritable in the next generation.' In radical disagreement, Margulis attributes the main source of evolutionary change to symbiosis. `I believe that neo-Darwinism is a kind of 20th- century aberration and that it will disappear just as plasmogenesis, phlogiston theory and many other ideas in science have disappeared.'" (Editorial, "Margulis has successfully challenged the neo-Darwinians," Times Higher Education Supplement, 03 July 1998 http://www.thes.co.uk/search/story.asp?id=52425&state_value=Archive) 17/03/2002 "THE trunk of the tree of life-the so-called `universal ancestor' from which all later life forms branched-may be a tangled thicket instead of a single stem, says an American evolutionary biologist. If true, this would dramatically change the way biologists view the early history of life on Earth. Biologists have assumed that if they learnt enough about evolutionary history, they could trace the evolutionary tree from one ancestor to another all the way back to the first living cells. Most believe the earliest organisms were much like bacteria or archaeans-single- celled organisms similar to bacteria-or had characteristics of both. But this genealogy breaks down if you follow it back more than 3 billion years, says Carl Woese of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. `The phylogenetic tree does not have its root in anything we would call an organism by today's standards,' he says. .... This genetic fluidity, Woese says, may have been so extensive that the universal ancestor of modern life forms was not a single organism but a loose community of protocells that swapped genetic material so frequently that they evolved together. The three main branches of life probably emerged as subsets of this community, whose genetic makeup gradually became more rigid and less open to lateral transfer as evolution favoured sets of genes that had become adapted to one another. If Woese is right, researchers may need to rethink the history of life. Different parts of an organism's genome may have different evolutionary histories." (Holmes B., `Free for-all,' New Scientist, Vol. 158, No. 2140, 27 June 1998, p.17) 17/03/2002 "A laudatory review of Weiner's book (The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time) appeared in the Times book review section a week later. Like Weiner's essay, it began by commenting on the astonishing persistence of biblical creationism among persons who appear to be otherwise perfectly reasonable. The reviewer attributed this to a lack of knowledge of the overwhelming proof of evolution which scientists have discovered. ... The Weiner article and book review illustrate what I would call the `official caricature' of the creation-evolution debate, a distortion that is either explicit or implicit in nearly all media and textbook treatments of the subject. According to the caricature, `evolution' is a simple, unitary process that one can see in operation today and that is also supported unequivocally by all the fossil evidence. Everyone accepts the truth of evolution except a disturbingly large group of biblical fundamentalists, who insist that the earth is no more than ten thousand years old and the fossil beds were laid down in Noah's flood. These baffling persons either are uninformed about the evidence or perhaps choose to disregard it as a temptation placed before us by God to test our faith in Genesis. There is no conceivable intellectual basis for their dissent, because the evidence for evolution is absolutely conclusive." (Johnson P.E., "Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law and Education," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1995, pp.72-73) 17/03/2002 "The molecular processes underlying protein synthesis seem inexplicably complex. Although we can describe many of them, they do not make conceptual sense in the way that DNA transcription, DNA repair, and DNA replication do. As we have seen, protein synthesis in present-day organisms centers on the ribosome, which consists of proteins arranged around a core of rRNA molecules. Why should rRNA molecules exist at all, and how did they come to play such a dominant part in the structure and function of the ribosome? ... The complexity of a process with so many interacting components has made many biologists despair of ever understanding the pathway by which protein synthesis evolved." (Alberts B., et al., "Molecular Biology of the Cell," , Garland: New York NY, Third Edition, 1994, p.241) 17/03/2002 "The kind of proof that the RNA world hypothesis really needs is the creation of an RNA molecule that can replicate either itself or another RNA molecule, the kind of self-replicating ribozyme that really could have performed the roles of both DNA and enzymes in early life. Unfortunately, this has not yet happened. Ribozymes have been created that perform different aspects of that function, but not one that performs all of them. 'Three key features of an RNA replicase currently reside in three different ribozymes and reactions', say Bartel and Unrau. 'One efficiently catalyses the proper chemistry, another uses nucleoside triphosphates [the individual units of RNA] in a templated fashion, and the third recognises an RNA duplex without regard for sequence. To prove the replicase assumption of the RNA world hypothesis, these features must be united into a single ribozyme'. Bartel and Unrau managed to produce a ribozyme that goes some way towards this goal. In a paper in Nature in 1998 (395, 260), they reported that they had created an RNA molecule with the ability to catalyse the formation of a glycosidic bond joining a ribose sugar to a base (uracil) to make a nucleotide, the main building block of DNA and RNA. Nevertheless, the construction of a self- replicating RNA molecule, even if possible, is still a long way off." (Evans, J., "It's alive - isn't it?," Chemistry in Britain, Vol. 36, No. 5, May 2000, pp.44-47, p.45. http://www.chemsoc.org/chembytes/ezine/2000/evans_may00.htm) 17/03/2002 "The molecular processes underlying protein synthesis seem inexplicably complex. Although we can describe many of them, they do not make conceptual sense in the way that DNA transcription, DNA repair, and DNA replication do. As we have seen, protein synthesis in present-day organisms centers on the ribosome, which consists of proteins arranged around a core of rRNA molecules. Why should rRNA molecules exist at all, and how did they come to play such a dominant part in the structure and function of the ribosome? ... The complexity of a process with so many interacting components has made many biologists despair of ever understanding the pathway by which protein synthesis evolved." (Alberts B., et al., "Molecular Biology of the Cell," , Garland: New York NY, Third Edition, 1994, p.241) 19/03/2002 "THE trunk of the tree of life-the so-called `universal ancestor' from which all later life forms branched-may be a tangled thicket instead of a single stem, says an American evolutionary biologist. If true, this would dramatically change the way biologists view the early history of life on Earth. Biologists have assumed that if they learnt enough about evolutionary history, they could trace the evolutionary tree from one ancestor to another all the way back to the first living cells. Most believe the earliest organisms were much like bacteria or archaeans-single- celled organisms similar to bacteria-or had characteristics of both. But this genealogy breaks down if you follow it back more than 3 billion years, says Carl Woese of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. `The phylogenetic tree does not have its root in anything we would call an organism by today's standards,' he says. .... This genetic fluidity, Woese says, may have been so extensive that the universal ancestor of modern life forms was not a single organism but a loose community of protocells that swapped genetic material so frequently that they evolved together. The three main branches of life probably emerged as subsets of this community, whose genetic makeup gradually became more rigid and less open to lateral transfer as evolution favoured sets of genes that had become adapted to one another. If Woese is right, researchers may need to rethink the history of life. Different parts of an organism's genome may have different evolutionary histories." (Holmes B., `Free for-all,' New Scientist, Vol. 158, No. 2140, 27 June 1998, p.17) 20/03/2002 "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved." (Darwin, C.R., "The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection," John Murray: London, Sixth Edition, 1872, Reprinted, 1882, p.429) 21/03/2002 "In Judeo-Christian culture, the Old Testament account of creation fortified the idea that species were individually designed and permanent. In the 1700s, biology in Europe and America was dominated by natural theology, a philosophy dedicated to discovering the Creator's plan by studying nature. Natural theologians saw the adaptations of organisms as evidence that the Creator had designed each and every species for a particular purpose. A major objective of natural theology was to classify species in order to reveal the steps of the scale of life that God had created." (Campbell, Neil A. [Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside], Reece J.B. & Mitchell L.G., "Biology," , Benjamin/Cummings: Menlo Park CA, Fifth Edition, 1999, pp.414-415) 21/03/2002 "But there are other theories that are most definitely not versions of Darwinism, theories that go flatly against the very spirit of Darwinism. These rival theories are the subject of this chapter. They include various versions of what is called Lamarckism; also other points of view such as 'neutralism', 'mutationism' and creationism which have, from time to time, been advanced as alternatives to Darwinian selection. The obvious way to decide between rival theories is to examine the evidence. ... In short, divine creation, whether instantaneous or in the form of guided evolution, joins the list of other theories we have considered in this chapter." (Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, pp.287, 316-317) 21/03/2002 "Many of the assumptions we make about evolution, especially concerning the history of life as understood from the fossil record, are, however, baseless. The reason for this lies in the scale of geological time that scientists deal with, which is so vast that it defies narrative. Fossils, such as the fossils of creatures we hail as our ancestors, constitute primary evidence for the history of life, but each fossil is an infinitesimal dot, lost in a fathomless sea of time, whose relationship with other fossils and organisms living in the present day is obscure. Any story we tell against the compass of geological time which links these fossils in sequences of cause and effect - or ancestry and descent - is, therefore, only ours to make. We invent these stories, after the fact, to justify the history of life according to our own prejudices." (Gee H., "Deep Time: Cladistics, the Revolution in Evolution," Fourth Estate: London, 2000, pp.1-2. Emphasis in original) 21/03/2002 "Fossils are never found with labels or certificates of authenticity. You can never know that the fossil bone you might dig up in Africa belonged to your direct ancestor, or anyone else's. The attribution of ancestry does not come from the fossil; it can come only from us. Fossils are mute: their silence gives us unlimited licence to tell their stories for them, which usually take the form of chains of ancestry and descent. These stories are like history, of events leading to other events; of succession and defeats; change and stability. Such tales are sustained more in our minds than in reality, and are informed and conditioned by our own prejudices - which will tell us not what really happened, but what we think happened. If there are 'missing links', only our imaginations can reconstruct them." (Gee H., "Deep Time: Cladistics, the Revolution in Evolution," Fourth Estate: London, 2000, p.2. Emphasis in original) 22/03/2002 "Deep Time lifts the lid on decades of misconception about the history of life. In this subversive book, Henry Gee tells you that everything you thought you knew about evolution is wrong. For a long time, popular scientists have told us that by looking at a fossilised bone we could tell whether it belonged to our ancestors. This is not true. A fossil cannot answer scientific questions of ascent and descent. Following this logic, Henry Gee shows us that the stories we have told ourselves about the history of life are pure imagination. They are stories that flatter our prejudices about our place in nature. Real scientists have put aside such popular bedtime stories about ancestry for decades." (Gee H., "Deep Time: Cladistics, the Revolution in Evolution," Fourth Estate: London, 2000, front inside cover) 24/03/2002 "But apart from telling you that Deep Time is long, conventional accounts never consider the implications of the scale of Deep Time for the way we think about evolution. If, as McPhee says, Deep Time implies intervals more or less incomprehensible to humans, we are entitled to ask whether it is valid to tell stories about evolution according to the conventions of narrative or drama. If it is not, then every story we tell in which causes are linked with effects, and ancestors are linked with descendants, becomes questionable: we can no longer use Deep Time as a backdrop for the stories we tell ourselves about evolution, and how and why we came to be who we are." (Gee H., "Deep Time: Cladistics, the Revolution in Evolution," Fourth Estate: London, 2000, pp.3-4) 24/03/2002 "Once we realize that Deep Time can never support narratives of evolution, we are forced to accept that virtually everything we thought we knew about evolution is wrong. It is wrong because we want to think of the history of life as a story, but that is precisely what we cannot do. This tension - between Deep Time and the everyday scale of time - is the theme of this book. What we need is an antidote to the historical approach to the history of life; a kind of 'anti-history' that recognises the special properties of Deep Time." (Gee H., "Deep Time: Cladistics, the Revolution in Evolution," Fourth Estate: London, 2000, p.4) 24/03/2002 "If we can never know for certain that any fossil we unearth is our direct ancestor, it is similarly invalid to pluck a string of fossils from Deep Time, arrange these fossils in chronological order, and assert that this arrangement represents a sequence of evolutionary ancestry and descent. As Stephen jay Gould' has demonstrated, such misleading tales are part of popular iconography: everyone has seen pictures in which a sequence of fossil hominids - members of the human family of species - are arranged in an orderly procession from primitive forms up to modern Man. To complicate matters further, such sequences are justified after the fact by tales of inevitable, progressive improvement. For example, the evolution of Man is said to have been driven by improvements in posture, brain size, and the coordination between hand and eye, which led to technological achievements such as fire, the manufacture of tools and the use of language. But such scenarios are subjective. They can never be tested by experiment, so they are unscientific. They rely for their acceptability not on scientific test, but on assertion and the authority of their presentation. (Gee H., "Deep Time: Cladistics, the Revolution in Evolution," Fourth Estate: London, 2000, p.5) 24/03/2002 "Testability is a central feature of the activity we call science. Some have sought a kind of special dispensation for palaeontology as a 'historical' science, that it be admitted to the high table of science even though palaeontologists cannot, classically, do the kinds of experiments other scientists take for granted. You cannot go back in time to watch the dinosaurs become extinct, or fishes crawl from the slime to become amphibians. More pointedly, you cannot, as Stephen jay Gould discussed in his book Wonderful Life, go back in time to see what other things might have happened instead, had circumstances been slightly different. What if the asteroid had missed the Earth, sparing the dinosaurs? What would have happened if the fishes decided to stay underwater after all? In either case, would we be here? We cannot see what nature would have done had she been able to rerun the tape of evolution. Were we able to witness such a rerun, would the outcome have been different from what we see, as Gould argues, or very much the same?' In strict, scientific terms, such questions are meaningless. The problem is that what we see before us is the result of a once-only experiment in history. Because it happened only once, it is not accessible to the reproducibility scientists usually require. This is not possible in palaeontology except in our imaginations." (Gee H., "Deep Time: Cladistics, the Revolution in Evolution," Fourth Estate: London, 2000, pp.7-8) 25/03/2002 "There really is no point nowadays in continuing to collect and to study fossils simply to determine whether or not evolution is a fact. The question has been decisively answered in the affirmative. There are still those who deny this, of course - there are still some who deny that the earth is round. It is no use gathering more evidence to persuade these doubters, because the evidence already in hand has convinced everyone who ever really studied it. Anyone who cannot or will not accept or attempt to understand this evidence is not likely to have the will or the ability to evaluate new facts of the same sort." (Simpson G.G., "Horses: The Story of the Horse Family in the Modern World and through Sixty Million Years of History," , The Natural History Library, Doubleday & Co: Garden City NY, 1961, reprint, pp.224-225) 26/03/2002 "The facts of astronomy include some other numerical accidents that work to our advantage. For example, the universe is built on such a scale that the average distance between stars in an average galaxy like ours is about twenty million million miles, an extravagantly large distance by human standards. If a scientist asserts that the stars at these immense distances have a decisive effect on the possibility of human existence, he will be suspected of being a believer in astrology. But it happens to be true that we could not have survived if the average distance between stars were only two million million miles instead of twenty. If the distances had been smaller by a factor of ten, there would have been a high probability that another star, at some time during the four billion years that the earth has existed, would have passed by the sun close enough to disrupt with its gravitational field the orbits of the planets. To destroy life on earth, it would not be necessary to pull the earth out of the solar system. It would be sufficient to pull the earth into a moderately eccentric elliptical orbit." (Dyson F.J., "Disturbing the Universe," Harper & Row: New York NY, 1979, pp.250-251) 26/03/2002 "Universalism is an ideal in science, but one with serious limitations in practice. The elites that pervade all branches of science may have a legitimate basis, but there is also a strong illegitimate component in scientific elitism that is the direct antagonist to universalism. Members of the elite are sheltered from the scrutiny that is supposedly applied without fear or favor to all scientists. Immunity from scrutiny constitutes a severe blind spot in the peer review and referee systems. Moreover, the random element built into these two systems, deriving from a lack of consensus as to what constitutes good science, severely limits their ability to accept radical new ideas and to reject bad or fraudulent science. Peer review and refereeing are at best coarse screens, not the infallible, fine discrimination systems that scientists often portray them to be. They separate wheat from chaff on a better than random basis but still allow a considerable measure of chaff to enter along with the wheat. A system that has serious difficulty in consistently recognizing good science is unlikely to be invariably successful in detecting fraud, and in practice, frauds are almost never detected in this way." (Broad W. & Wade N., "Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science," Simon and Schuster: New York NY, 1982, p.106) 27/03/2002 "All the rich diversity of organic chemistry depends on a delicate balance between electrical and quantum- mechanical forces. The balance exists only because the laws of physics include an "exclusion principle" which forbids two electrons to occupy the same state. If the laws were changed so that electrons no longer excluded each other, none of our essential chemistry would survive. There are many other lucky accidents in atomic physics. Without such accidents, water could not exist as a liquid, chains of carbon atoms could not form complex organic molecules, and hydrogen atoms could not form breakable bridges between molecules. I conclude from the existence of these accidents of physics and astronomy that the universe is an unexpectedly hospitable place for living creatures to make their home in." (Dyson F.J., "Disturbing the Universe," Harper & Row: New York NY, 1979, p.251) 28/03/2002 "We had earlier found two levels on which mind manifests itself in the description of nature. On the level of subatomic physics, the observer is inextricably involved in the definition of the objects of his observations. On the level of direct human experience, we are aware of our own minds, and we find it convenient to believe that other human beings and animals have minds not altogether unlike our own. Now we have found a third level to add to these two. The peculiar harmony between the structure of the universe and the needs of life and intelligence is a third manifestation of the importance of mind in the scheme of things." (Dyson F.J., "Disturbing the Universe," Harper & Row: New York NY, 1979, pp.251-252) 28/03/2002 "But where is the experimental evidence? None exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another. Bacteria, the simplest form of independent life, are ideal for this kind of study, with generation times of 20 to 30 minutes, and populations achieved after 18 hours. But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another, in spite of the fact that populations have been exposed to potent chemical and physical mutagens and that, uniquely, bacteria possess extrachromosomal, transmissible plasmids. Since there is no evidence for species changes between the simplest forms of unicellular life, it is not surprising that there is no evidence for evolution from prokaryotic to eukaryotic cells, let alone throughout the whole array of higher multicellular organisms." (Linton A.H., "Scant search for the Maker." Review of "The Triumph of Evolution and the Failure of Creationism," Freeman, 2001, by Niles Eldredge. The Times Higher Education Supplement, 20 April 2001) 28/03/2002 "The author rejects the creationists' arguments for order and design in nature but the extreme complexity of structure and function in all living things cannot be disregarded. The biochemical complexity of cascades of enzymes required to perform a single function in the cell is mind-boggling, and for a structure or function to be selected it must be functionally complete. The formation of amino acids from ammonia and methane under extremes of pressure and temperature is quoted, but this synthesis is nothing compared with the complexity of a single protein enzyme, let alone a series of highly specialised enzymes functioning in a cascade sequence. Such irreducibly complex systems are of no selective value unless they are complete. The author naively states that `all biochemical steps leading to the formation of the first organism... have yet to be deciphered.'" (Linton A.H., "Scant search for the Maker." Review of "The Triumph of Evolution and the Failure of Creationism," Freeman, 2001, by Niles Eldredge. The Times Higher Education Supplement, 20 April 2001) 28/03/2002 "It is frustrating indeed to come to the end of our story and to have to admit that we have little idea as to exactly how, when, where, or why our extraordinary consciousness was acquired. However much we tend to be obsessed by them, our cognitive capacities, epitomized by our linguistic abilities, do indeed mark us off distinctly from all of the millions of other creatures on the planet. But the latent ability to form and manipulate mental symbols is clearly not the predestined result of an inexorable process over the aeons, even if the foundations for it were established over a long human evolutionary past. Rather, its acquisition was an emergent event that was probably rather minor in terms of physical or genetic innovation, that was comparatively sudden, and that came very late in our evolutionary history. This event of events is, alas, probably undetectable from the bones and teeth that reveal our fossil history; and the archaeological record, as we've seen, is incomplete, highly selective, and but a dim mirror of the behavior of our forebears. But although the initial probability that all the components needed for modern human consciousness would come together precisely as they did was undoubtedly minuscule in statistical terms, so was the probability of any of the millions of specific outcomes of the evolutionary process. Viewed this way, the event itself is far less remarkable than its end product." (Tattersall I., "Becoming Human: Evolution and Human Uniqueness," Harcourt Brace & Co: New York NY, 1998, p.233. Emphasis in original) 28/03/2002 "Ever since the notion of evolution was co-opted to refer to the process that Darwin had originally called "descent with modification", evolutionary biologists have been in a hopeless muddle over what they have actually managed to explain. It does not help to be told that evolution is a fact if we are given no clear or consistent indication of what that fact is supposed to be." (Ingold T., "Swept away by the current." Review of "River out of Eden," Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1995, by Richard Dawkins. The Times Higher Education Supplement, 16 June 1995) April [top] 1/04/2002 "Micro-evolution involves mainly changes within potentially continuous populations, and there is little doubt that its materials are those revealed by genetic experimentation. Macro-evolution involves the rise and divergence of discontinuous groups, and it is still debatable whether it differs in kind or only in degree from microevolution. If the two proved to be basically different, the innumerable studies of micro-evolution would become relatively unimportant and would have minor value in the study of evolution as a whole." (Simpson G.G., "Tempo and Mode in Evolution," , Columbia University Press: New York NY, Third Printing, 1949, p.97) 1/04/2002 "Evolution, with whatever general trends it may have entailed, was a by-product of the maintenance of adaptation. At the end of a million years an organism would almost always be somewhat different in appearance from what it was at the beginning, but in the important respect it would still be exactly the same; it would still show the uniquely biological property of adaptation, and it would still be precisely adjusted to its particular circumstances. I regard it as unfortunate that the theory of natural selection was first developed as an explanation for evolutionary change. It is much more important as an explanation for the maintenance of adaptation." (Williams G.C., "Adaptation and Natural Selection: A Critique of Some Current Evolutionary Thought," , Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ, 1996, reprint, p.54) 2/04/2002 "WITH Darwin we are now in a position to claim that private vices have been public benefits. So much may be true in the short run. But in the long run we have to cast up a different account. Darwin's mixed theory, his double standard of explanation, has fathered a numerous litter of mixed theories. An illegitimate progeny of double standards has swarmed from his evolutionary statements and populated every field of the science of life." (Darlington, C.D., "Darwin's Place in History," Basil Blackwell: Oxford, 1959, p.67) 2/04/2002 "The notebooks prove that Darwin was interested in philosophy and aware of its implications. He knew that the primary feature distinguishing his theory from all other evolutionary doctrines was its uncompromising philosophical materialism. Other evolutionists spoke of vital forces, directed history, organic striving, and the essential irreducibilty of mind-a panoply of concepts that traditional Christianity could accept in compromise, for they permitted a Christian God to work by evolution instead of creation. Darwin spoke only of random variation and natural selection. In the notebooks Darwin resolutely applied his materialistic theory of evolution to all phenomena of life, including what he termed `the citadel itself' - the human mind. And if mind has no real existence beyond the brain, can God be anything more than an illusion invented by an illusion? In one of his transmutation notebooks, he wrote: `Love of the deity effect of organization, oh you materialist!...'" (Gould, S.J., "Darwin's Delay," in "Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, pp.24-25. Ellipses Gould's) 4/04/2002 "Where then shall we find the source of truth and the moral inspiration for a really scientific socialist humanism, if not in the sources of science itself, in the ethic upon which knowledge is founded, and which by free choice makes knowledge the supreme value-the measure and warrant for all other values? An ethic which bases moral responsibility upon the very freedom of that axiomatic choice. Accepted as the foundation for social and political institutions, hence as the measure of their authenticity, their value, only the ethic of knowledge could lead to socialism. It prescribes institutions dedicated to the defense, the extension, the enrichment of the transcendent kingdom of ideas, of knowledge, and of creation-a kingdom which is within man, where progressively freed both from material constraints and from the deceitful servitudes of animism, he could at last live authentically, protected by institutions which, seeing in him the subject of the kingdom and at the same time its creator, could be designed to serve him in his unique and precious essence. A utopia. Perhaps. But it is not an incoherent dream. It is an idea that owes its force to its logical coherence alone. It is the conclusion to which the search for authenticity necessarily leads. The ancient covenant is in pieces; man knows at last that he is alone in the universe's unfeeling immensity, out of which he emerged only by chance. His destiny is nowhere spelled out, nor is his duty. The kingdom above or the darkness below: it is for him to choose." (Monod J., "Chance and Necessity: An Essay on the Natural Philosophy of Modern Biology," , Penguin: London, 1997, reprint, p.180) 4/04/2002 "The historical method includes the presupposition that history is a unity in the sense of a closed continuum of effects in which individual events are connected by the succession of cause and effect. ... This closedness means that the continuum of historical happenings cannot be rent by the interference of supernatural, transcendent powers and that therefore there is no "miracle" in this sense of the word. Such a miracle would be an event whose cause did not lie within history. While, for example, the Old Testament narrative speaks of an interference by God in history, historical science cannot demonstrate such an act of God, but merely perceives that there are those who believe in it. To be sure, as historical science, it may not assert that such a faith is an illusion and that God has not acted in history. But it itself as science cannot perceive such an act and reckon on the basis of it; it can only leave every man free to determine whether he wants to see an act of God in a historical event that it itself understands in terms of that event's immanent historical causes. It is in accordance with such a method as this that the science of history goes to work on all historical documents. And there cannot be any exceptions in the case of biblical texts if the latter are at all to be understood historically." (Bultmann R., "Exegesis Without Presuppositions?," in "Existence and Faith: Shorter Writings of Rudolf Bultmann," , Fontana: London, 1964, reprint, p.344) 5/04/2002 "However all these problems may be resolved, and whichever cosmological model proves correct, there is not much of comfort in any of this. It is almost irresistible for humans to believe that we have some special relation to the universe, that human life is not just a more-or-less farcical outcome of a chain of accidents reaching back to the first three minutes, but that we were somehow built in from the beginning. As I write this I happen to be in an aeroplane at 30,000 feet, flying over Wyoming en route home from San Francisco to Boston. Below, the earth looks very soft and comfortable-fluffy clouds here and there, snow turning pink as the sun sets, roads stretching straight across the country from one town to another. It is very hard to realize that this all is just a tiny part of an overwhelmingly hostile universe. It is even harder to realize that this present universe has evolved from an unspeakably unfamiliar early condition, and faces a future extinction of endless cold or intolerable heat. The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless." (Weinberg S., "The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe," , Flamingo: London, 1983, reprint, pp.148-149) 5/04/2002 "The idea of continuity in nature occurs in many places in the history of human thought. _Natura non facit saltum_-nature makes no jumps-was a guiding motto for generations of evolutionists and protoevolutionists. But Darwin encountered it in a sharp and interesting form, posed as an alternative of terrible import: nature makes no jumps, but God does. Therefore, if we want to know whether something that interests us is of natural origin or supernatural, we must ask: did it arise gradually out of that which came before, or suddenly without any evident natural cause? ... In other words, sometime in his Cambridge years, 1827-30, Darwin took cognizance of the proposition that in order to show some thing is of natural origin it must be shown that it evolved gradually from its precursors, otherwise its origins are supernatural." (Gruber H.E., "Darwin on Man: A Psychological Study of Scientific Creativity," together with Barrett P.H., "Darwin's Early and Unpublished Notebooks," Wildwood House: London, 1974, pp.125-126) 5/04/2002 "Similar difficulties of measurement arise with mutation and migration. When a gene replicates, there is a chance of the order of 1 in 100 million that a particular base will be miscopied. It is possible to measure these astonishingly low rates of error in very special circumstances in some microorganisms. It is also clear from the theory that rates of this order are sufficient to provide the raw material of evolution. But in most natural situations, mutation rates cannot be measured. Finally, consider migration. Suppose that a species is subdivided into a number of populations, and we wish to know how far the evolution of any one population is influenced by immigration from the others. Theory shows that if a population receives on the average one migrant from outside in each generation, this can have a decisive effect. Yet in practice we could not hope to measure such a low rate of migration. Thus we have three processes which we believe to determine the course of evolution, and we have a mathematical theory which tells us that these processes can produce their effects at levels we cannot usually hope to measure directly. It is as if we had a theory of electromagnetism but no means of measuring electric current or magnetic force." (Maynard Smith J., "The Limitations of Evolution Theory," in Duncan, R. & Weston- Smith M., eds., "The Encyclopaedia of Ignorance: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Unknown," , Pergamon: Oxford UK, 1978, reprint, p.236) 6/04/2002 "Palaeontology read as history is additionally unscientific because, without testable hypotheses, its statements rely for their justification on authority, as if its practitioners had privileged access to absolute truth - 'truth which can be known' ... Whether you believe the conventional wisdom that, for example, our own species Homo sapiens descended in seamless continuity from the pre-existing species, Homo erectus, depends not on the evidence, for the fossil evidence is mute, but on whether the presentation of the evidence conforms to your prejudices, or on whether you choose to defer to the authority of the presenter. The assumption of authority is profoundly, mischievously and dangerously unscientific. It conflicts with how we are taught science from our earliest years: that the scientific method should be rigorously democratic, that statements from authorities in a field should be as subject to scrutiny as those emanating from the most humble sources, even a novice. Nobody should be afraid to ask a silly question." (Gee H., "Deep Time: Cladistics, the Revolution in Evolution," Fourth Estate: London, 2000, p.8) 6/04/2002 "Perhaps the most remarkable (and also the most perplexing) thing about the fossil record is its beginning. Fossils first appear in appreciable numbers in rocks of the Lower Cambrian age, deposited about 600 million years ago. Rocks of older (Pre-Cambrian) age are almost completely unfossiliferous, although a few traces of ancient organisms have been recorded from them. The difference between the two groups of rocks is every bit as great as this suggests: a palaeontologist may search promising-looking Pre-Cambrian strata for a lifetime and find nothing (and many have done just this); but once he rises up into the Cambrian, in come the fossils - a great variety of forms, well-preserved, world-wide in extent, and relatively common. This is the first feature of the oldest common fossils and it comes as a shock to the evolutionist. For instead of appearing gradually, with demonstrably orderly development and sequence - they come in with what amounts to a geological bang. They are not the oldest fossils - but they are the oldest common fossils. Those which precede them (which we shall discuss shortly) amount to a mere handful of forms in comparison, and show no direct ancestral relationship to them." (Rhodes F.H.T., "The Evolution of Life," , Penguin: Baltimore MD, 1963, reprint, pp.77-78) 9/04/2002 "EVOLUTION IS GRADUAL, OCCURS IN SPURTS, OR IS A COMBINATION OF BOTH PROCESSES Biologists have long recognized that the fossil record lacks many transitional forms; that is, the starting points and end points are present, but the intermediate stages in the evolution from one species to another are absent. This fact has traditionally been blamed on the incompleteness of the fossil record. Biologists have attempted to fill in the missing parts, much as a writer might fill in the middle of a novel when the beginning and end are already there. Recently, however, many biologists have begun to question whether the fossil record really is incomplete. The theory of punctuated equilibrium proposes that the fossil record accurately reflects evolution as it occurs, with long periods of stasis (no change in a species)" (Solomon E.P., Berg L.R. & Martin D.W., "Biology," , Harcourt Brace: Orlando FL, Third Edition, 1993, p.434) 9/04/2002 "MEIOSIS, THE SPLITTING of chromosome pairs in the formation of sex cells, represents one of the great triumphs of good engineering in biology. Sexual reproduction cannot work unless eggs and sperm each contain precisely half the genetic information of normal body cells. The union of two halves by fertilization restores the full amount of genetic in formation, while the mixing of genes from two parents in each offspring also supplies the variability that Darwinian processes require. This halving, or "reduction division," occurs during meiosis when the chromosomes line up in pairs and pull apart, one member of each pair moving to each of the sex cells. Our admiration for the precision of meiosis can only increase when we learn that cells of some ferns contain more than 600 pairs of chromosomes and that, in most cases, meiosis splits each pair without error." (Gould, S.J., "Dr. Down's Syndrome," in "The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1990, reprint, p.133) 11/04/2002 "Although Darwin titled his monumental book On the Origin of Species, he was never really able to explain how species might originate." (Raven P.H., Evert R.F. & Eichhorn S.E., "Biology of Plants," , W.H. Freeman & Co/Worth: New York NY, Sixth Edition, 1999, p.248) 11/04/2002 "Theologians worry away at the `problem of evil' ... On the contrary, if the universe were just electrons and selfish genes, meaningless tragedies ... are exactly what we should expect, along with equally meaningless good fortune. Such a universe would be neither evil nor good in intention. It would manifest no intentions of any kind. In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. As that unhappy poet A.E. Housman put it: `For Nature, heartless, witless Nature Will neither care nor know.' DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music." (Dawkins. R., "River out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life," Phoenix: London, 1996, pp.154- 155. Emphasis original) 12/04/2002 "Richard Dawkins was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1941. He moved to England at the age of eight when his father, an official in the colonial agricultural civil service in Nyasaland, now Malawi, inherited a farm just outside Oxford. A white colonial upbringing in Africa was followed by boarding schools in England. He first encountered Darwin's work at the age of 16 and was initially sceptical of it: `I did not really believe that it was big enough to do the job of explaining everything. It took a while to realise that it was. It was understanding Darwin that finally destroyed my belief in God.'" (Patel K., "Going the whole hog," The Times Higher Education Supplement, 28 April 1995. http://www.thes.co.uk/search/story.asp?id=41504&state_value=Archive) 13/04/2002 "No coherent attempt to account for the origin of adaptations other than the theory of natural selection and the theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics have ever been proposed. Whether or not these theories are adequate for the purpose just stated is a real issue." (Dobzhansky T.G., "Genetics and the Origin of Species," Columbia University Press: New York NY, , 1982, reprint, p.150) 14/04/2002 "Darwin maintained that evolution has no direction; it does not lead inevitably to higher things. Organisms become better adapted to their local environments, and that is all. The "degeneracy" of a parasite is as perfect as the gait of a gazelle. Third, Darwin applied a consistent philosophy of materialism to his interpretation of nature. Matter is the ground of all existence; mind, spirit, and God as well, are just words that express the wondrous results of neuronal complexity." (Gould, S.J., "Prologue," in "Ever Since Darwin," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, p.13) 14/04/2002 "Darwin's book ["On the Various Contrivances by Which British and Foreign Orchids Are Fertilized by Insects (1862)"] is a compendium of these contrivances, the botanical equivalent of a bestiary. And, like the medieval bestiaries, it is designed to instruct. The message is paradoxical but profound. Orchids manufacture their intricate devices from the common components of ordinary flowers, parts usually fitted for very different functions. If God had designed a beautiful machine to reflect his wisdom and power, surely he would not have used a collection of parts generally fashioned for other purposes. Orchids were not made by an ideal engineer; they are jury-rigged from a limited set of available components. Thus, they must have evolved from ordinary flowers." (Gould, S.J., "The Panda's Thumb," in "The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1990, reprint, p.20) 14/04/2002 "Our textbooks like to illustrate evolution with examples of optimal design - nearly perfect mimicry of a dead leaf by a butterfly or of a poisonous species by a palatable relative. But ideal design is a lousy argument for evolution, for it mimics the postulated action of an omnipotent creator. Odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution-paths that a sensible God would never tread but that a natural process, constrained by history, follows perforce. No one understood this better than Darwin. Ernst Mayr has shown how Darwin, in defending evolution, consistently turned to organic parts and geographic distributions that make the least sense." (Gould, S.J., "The Panda's Thumb," in "The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1990, reprint, p.20) 14/04/2002 "Fitzroy's idee fixe, at least in later life, was the "argument from design," the belief that God's benevolence (indeed his very existence) can be inferred from the perfection of organic structure. Darwin, on the other hand, accepted the idea of excellent design but proposed a natural explanation that could not have been more contrary to Fitzroy's conviction. Darwin developed an evolutionary theory based on chance variation and natural selection imposed by an external environment: a rigidly materialistic (and basically atheistic) version of evolution (see essay 1). Many other evolutionary theories of the nineteenth century were far more congenial to Fitzroy's type of Christianity. Religious leaders, for example, had far less trouble with common proposals for innate perfecting tendencies than with Darwin's uncompromisingly mechanical view." (Gould, S.J., "Darwin's Sea Change, or Five Years at the Captain's Table," in "Ever Since Darwin," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, pp.32-33) 14/04/2002 "Yet-continuing the theme of the last two essays and bringing this trilogy to a close - perfection works as well for the creationist as the evolutionist. Did not the Psalmist proclaim: `The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork'? The last two essays argued that imperfection carries the day for evolution." (Gould, S.J., "Double Trouble," in "The Panda's Thumb," , Penguin: London, 1990, reprint, p.34) 14/04/2002 "SINCE MAN CREATED God in his own image, the doctrine of special creation has never failed to explain those adaptations that we understand intuitively. How can we doubt that animals are exquisitely designed for their appointed roles when we watch a lioness hunt, a horse run, or a hippo wallow? The theory of natural selection would never have replaced the doctrine of divine creation if evident, admirable design pervaded all organisms. Charles Darwin understood this, and he focused on features that would be out of place in a world constructed by perfect wisdom. Why, for example, should a sensible designer create only on Australia a suite of marsupials to fill the same roles that placental mammals occupy on all other continents? Darwin even wrote an entire book on orchids to argue that the structures evolved to insure fertilization by insects are jerrybuilt of available parts used by ancestors for other purposes. Orchids are Rube Goldberg machines; a perfect engineer would certainly have come up with something better." (Gould, S.J., "Organic Wisdom, or Why Should a Fly Eat Its Mother from Inside," in "Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, p.91) 14/04/2002 "One question may possibly have dwelt in the reader's mind during the perusal of these observations, namely, Why should not the Deity have given to the animal the faculty of vision at once? Why this circuitous perception; the ministry of so many means? an element provided for the purpose; reflected from opaque substances, refracted through transparent ones; and both according to precise laws: then, a complex organ, an intricate and artificial apparatus, in order, by the operation of this element, and in conformity with the restrictions of these laws, to produce an image upon a membrane communicating with the brains Wherefore all this? Why make the difficulty in order only to surmount it? If to perceive objects by some other mode than that of touch, or objects which lay out of the reach of that sense, were the thing purposed, could not a simple volition of the Creator have communicated the capacity? Why resort to contrivance, where power is omnipotent? Contrivance, by its very definition and nature, is the refuge of imperfection. To have recourse to expedients, implies difficulty, impediment, restraint, defect of power. This question belongs to the other senses, as well as to sight; to the general functions of animal life, as nutrition, secretion, respiration; to the economy of vegetables; and indeed to almost all the operations of nature. The question therefore is of very wide extent; and, amongst other answers which may be given to it, beside reasons of which probably we are ignorant, one answer is this. It is only by the display of contrivance, that the existence, the agency, the wisdom of the Deity, could be testified to his rational creatures. This is the scale by which we ascend to all the knowledge of our Creator which we possess, so far as it depends upon the phenomena, or the works of nature. Take away this, and you take await from us every subject of observation, and ground of reasoning; I mean as our rational faculties are formed at present. Whatever is done, God could have done, without the intervention of instruments or means: but it is in the construction of instruments, in the choice and adaptation of means, that a creative intelligence is seen. It is this which constitutes the order and beauty of the universe. God, therefore, has been pleased to prescribe limits to his own power, and to work his ends within those limits. (Paley W., "Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature," , St. Thomas Press: Houston TX, 1972, reprint, pp.28-29. Emphasis in original) 14/04/2002 "Each of the major sciences has contributed an essential ingredient to our long retreat from an initial belief in our own cosmic importance. Astronomy defined our home as a small planet tucked away in one corner of an average galaxy among millions; biology took away our status as paragons created in the image of God; geology gave us the immensity of time and taught us how little of it our own species has occupied." (Gould, S.J., "Uniformity and Catastrophe," in "Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, p.147) 14/04/2002 "Darwin's theory uses the same invisible hand, but formed into a fist as a battering ram to eliminate Paley's God from nature. The very features that Paley used to infer not only God's existence, but also his goodness, are, for Darwin, but spin-offs of the only real action in nature-the endless struggle among organisms for reproductive success, and the endless hecatombs of failure." (Gould, S.J., "Darwin and Paley Meet the Invisible Hand," in "Eight Little Piggies: Reflections in Natural History," Jonathan Cape: London, 1993, pp.149-150) 14/04/2002 "Before Copernicus and Newton, we thought we lived at the hub of the universe. Before Darwin, we thought that a benevolent God had created us. Before Freud, we imagined ourselves as rational creatures (surely one of the least modest statements in intellectual history)." (Gould, S.J., "So Cleverly Kind an Animal," in "Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, p.267) 14/04/2002 "Our task should by now be clear. We have to embark upon the track of the absolute zero of creative involvement in the creation, the absolute zero of intervention. ... This is where we begin. The only faith we need for the journey is the belief that everything can be understood and, ultimately, that there is nothing to explain." (Atkins P.W., "Creation Revisited", , Penguin Books: London, 1994, reprint, p.7. Emphasis in original) 15/04/2002 "In the natural world, there are many pattern-assembly systems for which there is no simple explanation. There are useful scientific explanations for these complex systems, but the final patterns that they produce are so heterogeneous that they cannot effectively be reduced to smaller or less intricate predecessor components. As I will argue in Chapters 7 and 8, these patterns are, in a fundamental sense, irreducibly complex, and our particular model of the generation of the human figure is an example of a pattern-assembly system that irreducibly complex." (Katz M.J., "Templets and the Explanation of Complex Patterns," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1986, pp.26-27) 16/04/2002 "I have no metaphysical necessity driving me to propose the miraculous action of the evident finger of God as a scientific hypothesis. In my world view, all natural forces and events are fully contingent on the free choice of the sovereign God. Thus, neither an adequate nor an inadequate "neo-Darwinism (as mechanism) holds any terrors. But that is not what the data looks like. And I feel no metaphysical necessity to exclude the evident finger of God." (Wilcox D.L., "Tamed Tornadoes," in Buell J. & Hearn V., eds., "Darwinism: Science or Philosophy?" Foundation for Thought and Ethics: Richardson TX, 1994, p.215. http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/fte/darwinism/chapter13b.html) 16/04/2002 "Almost no one is indifferent to Darwin, and no one should be. The Darwinian theory is a scientific theory, and a great one, but that is not all it is. The creationists who oppose it so bitterly are right about one thing: Darwin's dangerous idea cuts much deeper into the fabric of our most fundamental beliefs than many of its sophisticated apologists have yet admitted, even to themselves. ... The kindly God who lovingly fashioned each and every one of us (all creatures great and small) and sprinkled the sky with shining stars for our delight-that God is, like Santa Claus, a myth of childhood, not anything a sane, undeluded adult could literally believe in. That God must either be turned into a symbol for something less concrete or abandoned altogether." (Dennett D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life," , Penguin: London, 1996, p.18) 17/04/2002 "Today, the theory of evolution is an accepted fact for everyone but a fundamentalist minority, whose objections are based not on reasoning but on doctrinaire adherence to religious principles." (Watson J.D., "Molecular Biology of the Gene," W.A. Benjamin: Menlo Park CA, Second Edition, 1970, p.2) 17/04/2002 "From time to time, evolutionists re-examine a classic experimental study and find, to their horror, that it is flawed or downright wrong. .... Until now, however, the prize horse in our stable of examples has been the evolution of 'industrial melanism' in the peppered moth, Biston betularia, presented by most teachers and textbooks as the paradigm of natural selection and evolution occurring within a human lifetime. ... Depressingly, Majerus shows that this classic example is in bad shape, and, while not yet ready for the glue factory, needs serious attention. ... Majerus notes that the most serious problem is that B. betularia probably does not rest on tree trunks -exactly two moths have been seen in such a position in more than 40 years of intensive search. The natural resting spots are, in fact, a mystery. This alone invalidates Kettlewell's release-recapture experiments, as moths were released by placing them directly onto tree trunks, where they are highly visible to bird predators. (Kettlewell also released his moths during the day, while they normally choose resting places at night.) The story is further eroded by noting that the resurgence of typica occurred well before lichens recolonized the polluted trees, and that a parallel increase and decrease of the melanic form also occurred in industrial areas of the United States, where there was no change in the abundance of the lichens that supposedly play such an important role. Finally, the results of Kettlewell's behavioural experiments were not replicated in later studies: moths have no tendency to choose matching backgrounds. Majerus finds many other flaws in the work, but they are too numerous to list here. ... My own reaction resembles the dismay attending my discovery, at the age of six, that it was my father and not Santa who brought the presents on Christmas Eve." (Coyne J.A., "Not black and white," review of Majerus M.E.N., "Melanism: Evolution in Action," Oxford University Press, 1998, Nature, Vol. 396, 5 November 1998, pp.35-36, p.35) 17/04/2002 "The peppered moth remains one of the best examples of evolution in action. But as in so many other cases, the real story is turning out to be more complicated than the biologists first thought." (Cherfas J., "Exploding the myth of the melanic moth," New Scientist, Vol. 112, 25 December 1986/1 January 1987, p.25) 18/04/2002 "Do you recognize this picture? Ask this question of any class of biology students, and almost all of them will respond positively. Moreover, most of them will be able to tell you that it depicts the classic example of natural selection in action: namely, the evolution of industrial melanism in the peppered moth (Biston betularia). Many students will even be able to recount the basic story: that more than a century ago, darkly pigmented peppered moths were rare in England. Typical moths were light in color and were well camouflaged by the pale lichens on the tree trunks on which they rested during the day. During the industrial revolution, many of the lichens died off as a direct result of sulfur dioxide in air pollution, and the trees become coated with industrial soot. Over this period, the numbers of light moths declined and the darker forms became common. The cause of this change in the classic example is argued to be bird-mediated predation. That is, in polluted areas, the light coloring was disadvantageous because it made the moths conspicuous. Hence, the light moths were readily detected and eaten by birds, whereas the dark moths were protected because of their newfound crypsis. The familiarity of this example to students, in addition to its presence in almost all biological textbooks, is proof enough of its importance. ... Majerus acknowledges the difficulties with the classic example and details the major elements in the story, some of which are seriously flawed. For example, peppered moths do not actually rest exposed on the trunks of trees. The resting place is not known, but Majerus concludes that the most likely resting place is on the underside of branches, below branch/trunk joins and on foliate twigs. This has major implications for the classic example; among other things, it calls into question the findings of the bird predation experiments, which form the backbone of the classic explanation." (Millar C. & Lambert D., "Industrial melanism - a classic example of another kind?," BioScience, Vol. 48, No. 12, December 1999, p.1021) 18/04/2002 "A natural experiment of a similar kind which is constantly cited, is the study of the peppered moth, Biston betularia, by H.B. Kettlewell. It resembles the lichen on trees so closely as to be almost invisible when resting on a lichened tree. About 1848, a black form materialised, named carbonaria, which was easily spotted by birds and hence eaten. The mutation kept recurring, however. But the smokes of the industrial revolution killed the grey lichens and blackened the trees, giving the black form an advantage and handicapping the grey form. By 1900 the black form, which had constituted only one per cent of the population in the mid-nineteenth century, comprised 99 per cent. Recently, owing to the Clean Air Acts, the drift has been reversed and in some areas the grey form in reasserting itself. This has been called 'the most striking example of evolutionary change actually witnessed'. And even 'Darwin's missing evidence'. Subsequently more than seventy other varieties of moth were found to have darkened and the same is true of industrial areas in Europe, the US and Canada. But popular accounts of this phenomenon say nothing of the many reservations Kettlewell expressed. In particular, it is not clear why the disadvantageous form is not eliminated completely in a century, which is what Darwin would have expected. And why are the proportions surviving quite different in different species? Odder still, dark mutants appeared among ladybirds and spiders, even among ladybirds that are distasteful to birds in any case." (Taylor G.R., "The Great Evolution Mystery," , Abacus: London, 1984, reprint, pp.33-34) 18/04/2002 "Who then was this Goldschmidt whom so many reviled in ignorance? First of all-and this must be a general principle for objects of intense ridicule-he could not have been a minor or second-rate thinker, for such scientists are not worth the emotional energy devoted to Goldschmidt's intellectual persecution. No one likes to waste time on a nonentity." (Gould, S.J., "The Uses of Heresy: An Introduction to Richard Goldschmidt's The Material Basis of Evolution," in Goldschmidt R.B., "The Material Basis of Evolution," , Yale University Press: New Haven CT, 1982, reprint, p.xiv) 19/04/2002 "A theory which explained everything else in the whole universe but which made it impossible to believe that our thinking was valid, would be utterly out of court. For that theory would itself have been reached by thinking, and if thinking is not valid that theory would, of course, be itself demolished. It would have destroyed its own credentials. It would be an argument which proved that no argument was sound-a proof that there are no such things as proofs- which is nonsense. Thus a strict materialism refutes itself for the reason given long ago by Professor Haldane: "If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true ... and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms." (Haldane J.B.S., "Possible Worlds," Chatto & Windus, 1932, p.209) But Naturalism, even if it is not purely materialistic, seems to me to involve the same difficulty, though in a somewhat less obvious form. It discredits our processes of reasoning or at least reduces their credit to such a humble level that it can no longer support Naturalism itself." (Lewis, C.S., "Miracles: A Preliminary Study," , Fontana: London, 1960, Revised edition, 1963, reprint, pp.18-19. Ellipses Lewis') 19/04/2002 "It is necessary first to admit of a major and fundamental area of agreement with the creationists. I personally do not see how the concept of evolution can be made consistent with that of creation by a personal god, or indeed any sort of god. ... The late Professor J.B.S. Haldane put the issue more bluntly: `My practise as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel, or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world. And I should be a coward if I did not state my theoretical views in public.'" (Halstead L.B., "Evolution-The Fossils Say Yes!," in Montagu A., ed., "Science and Creationism", Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1984, pp.240-241) 19/04/2002 "Proponents of the RNA world scenario have received flak not just from chemists but from biologists too. If life began with RNA replication, you would expect the necessary replication machinery to be very ancient, and therefore common to all extant life. However, genetic analysis reveals that the genes coding for RNA replication differ markedly in the three domains of life, suggesting that RNA replication was refined some time after the common ancestor lived." (Davies, P.C.W., "The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin of Life," Penguin: Ringwood VIC, Australia, 1998, p.100. Emphasis in original) 19/04/2002 "The action of natural selection can be studied experimentally only in exceptionally favorable objects and under favorable circumstances. No major evolutionary change is noticeable in most species of organisms within a human lifetime, hence the supposition that species have become what they are now through evolution by natural selection can be at best no more than a very probable inference. It is obviously impossible to reproduce in the laboratory under controlled conditions the evolution of, for example, the horse tribe or of the anthropoid apes. Moreover the work on natural selection is of necessity confined mainly to experiments in which the environment of the organism is modified artificially, and the resulting changes in the genetic make-up of the populations are recorded. A modification of environment is sometimes brought about unintentionally by man; the effects of such a modification on the free-living organisms may furnish valuable, though mostly indirect, information on selection. Skeptics may contend that if the change in the environmentis wrought directly or indirectly by man, the resulting selection is no longer `natural.'" (Dobzhansky, T.G., "Genetics and the Origin of Species," , Columbia University Press: New York NY, 1982, reprint, pp.151-152) 19/04/2002 "At this point in our discussion I may challenge the adherents of the strictly Darwinian view, which we are discussing here, to try to explain the evolution of the following features by accumulation and selection of small mutants: hair in mammals, feathers in birds segmentation of arthropods and vertebrates, the transformation of the gill arches in phylogeny including the aortic arches, muscles, nerves, etc.; further, teeth, shells of mollusks, ectoskeletons, compound eyes, blood circulation, alternation of generations, statocysts, ambulacral system of echinoderms, pedicellaria of the same, enidocysts, poison apparatus of snakes, whalebone, and, finally, primary chemical differences like hemoglobin vs. hemocyanin, etc. Corresponding examples from plants could be given." (Goldschmidt R.B., "The Material Basis of Evolution," , Yale University Press: New Haven CT, 1982, reprint, pp.6-7) 22/04/2002 "Was the law broken? It is a sterile stratagem to insert miracles to bridge the unknown. Soluble problems often seem to be baffling to begin with. Who would have thought a thousand years ago that the size of an atom or the age of the Earth would ever be discovered? Poor Dr. Watson was always being baffled by Sherlock Holmes' cases - as we all are by a good conjuring show. It is silly to say that because we cannot see a natural explanation for a phenomenon then we must look for a supernatural explanation. (It is usually silly anyway.) With so many past scientific puzzles now cleared up there have to be very clear reasons not to presume natural causes. Let us not say that the law was broken." (Cairns-Smith, A.G., "Seven Clues to the Origin of Life: A Scientific Detective Story," , Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1993, reprint, p.6) 23/04/2002 "In fact, if any confirmation of Darwinism were needed, it has turned up in examples of natural selection that have taken place before the eyes of mankind (now that mankind knows what to watch for). A notable example occurred in Darwin's native land. In England, it seems, the peppered moth exists in two varieties, a light and a dark. In Darwin's time, the white variety was predominant because it was less prominently visible against the light lichencovered bark of the trees it frequented. It was saved by this 'protective colouration' more often than the clearly visible, dark Variety from those animals who would feed on it. In modern, industrialized England, however, soot has killed the lichen cover and blackened the-tree bark. Now it is the dark variety that is less visible against the bark and therefore protected. It is the dark variety that is now predominant - through the action of natural selection." (Asimov I., "Asimov's Guide to Science: The Biological Sciences," , Penguin: Hartmondsworth, Middlesex, Vol. 2, 1978, reprint, p.314) 23/04/2002 "Alternatively camouflage might be the important factor, as has always been popularly assumed. As the air grew cleaner the background lightness would have increased until birds could no longer spot the lighter form. The matter, however, is difficult to resolve. Clarke and his colleagues do not think that there has been any great change in the state of the lichens that are supposed to be hiding the moths. This suggests that bird vision is not the only important aspect of selection. The real difficulty is that we do not know where the birds actually spend the hours of daylight. Clarke thinks that they do not hide among the lichens on trees and walls, at least in his area. In 95 years he has found only two specimens in that situation, and none elsewhere, so their normal hiding place remains a mystery. Industrial melanism has been reversed as industrial pollution has been decreased that much is clear. Exactly how the changes in the peppered moth are brought about will require more work." (Cherfas J., "Clean air revives the peppered moth," New Scientist, Vol. 109, No. 1489, 2 January 1986, p.17) 23/04/2002 "In spite of the apparent ease with which the many-universes theory can account for what would otherwise be considered remarkable feature of the universe, the theory faces a number of serious objections. Not least of these is Ockham's razor: one must introduce a vast (indeed infinite) complexity to explain the regularities of just one universe. This "blunderbuss" approach to explaining the specialness of our universe is scientifically questionable. Another problem is that the theory can explain only those aspect of nature that are relevant to the existence of conscious life, otherwise there is no selection mechanism. Many of the best examples of design, such as the ingenuity and unity of particle physics, have little obvious connection with biology." (Davies P.C.W., "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Science," in Templeton J.M., ed., "Evidence of Purpose: Scientists Discover the Creator," Continuum: New York NY, 1994, pp.52-53) 24/04/2002 "Perhaps the most unexpected support, though, came from Leonard Horner, Lyell's ageing father-in-law, who in 1861 had succeeded Phillips as president of the Geological Society. Putting aside his geological interests, Horner had turned his attention to the Bible, and in particular Ussher's date for the creation of the world. He had become convinced that the main reason people still believed that man and the world were of recent origin was because they assumed that the date of 4004 BC was actually part of the Bible. By now hardly anyone remembered that it was the work of Ussher. ... In February 1861, instead of delivering the usual treatise on geology, he surprised the members of the Geological Society by devoting a large part of his presidential address to a critique of the Bible, and in particular, Ussher's marginal dates. ... `To remove any inaccuracy in notes accompanying the authorized version of our Bible is surely an imperative duty. The retention of the marginal note in question is by no means a matter of indifference: it is untrue, and therefore it is mischievous.' When he heard about the lecture, Darwin was amazed. Despite having spent two years at Cambridge training for Holy Orders, he had no idea the date was Ussher's. 'How curious about the Bible! I declare I had fancied that the date was somehow in the Bible,' he wrote to Horner ..." (Gorst M., "Aeons: The Search for the Beginning of Time," Fourth Estate: London, 2001, pp.161- 162) 24/04/2002 "In 1998, for the first time, scientists obtained measurements of all the parameters required to find the universe's age. The search, it seems, may have reached its end. The fact that there was a search at all, though, is due to Christianity. Two thousand years ago, the idea that the world might have a starting point was inconceivable. Almost all ancient civilisations believed that the universe had existed for ever. From ancient Babylon to early India, the prevailing belief was in an eternal world. Nearly always this concept was combined with the idea of recurring cycles. Instead of having a beginning, time was thought to consist of endless eras, repeated over and over again for eternity. ... A similar view was held in ancient Greece. ... Throughout the ancient world there was just one civilisation that didn't subscribe to this cyclic vision of eternity. Jewish scripture, with its story of the Creation, stated clearly that the world had a beginning, a first day when God created the heaven and the earth. By the end of the first century AD, Christianity had adopted this Jewish history as its own ..." (Gorst M., "Aeons: The Search for the Beginning of Time," Fourth Estate: London, 2001, pp.3-4) 25/04/2002 "The 1998 NAS members perhaps provide a more immaculate sample of the elite than Leuba's starred entries did. Congress created the National Academy of Sciences in 1863, and after naming its first members Congress empowered them and their successors to choose all later members. Its current membership of 1,800 remains the closest thing to peerage in American science. And their responses validate Leuba's prediction of the beliefs of topflight scientists generations from his time. Disbelief among NAS members responding to our survey exceeded 90 percent. The increase may simply reflect that they are more elite than Leuba's "greater" scientists, but this interpretation would also please Leuba. NAS biologists are the most skeptical, with 95 percent of our respondents evincing atheism and agnosticism." (Larson E.J. & Witham L., "Scientists and Religion in America," Scientific American, Vol. 281, No. 3, September 1999, pp.78-83, p.80) 25/04/2002 "The NAS is mindful of its obligation to serve the public, but it can be a delicate course to maneuver. Disbelief and belief have often become a major public relations issue for science in religious America. ... Yet, to its credit, in 1998 the NAS issued a report proudly promoting the teaching of evolution in public school. `Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral,' the report cautiously begins, before launching its broadside of scientific arguments against religious objections to teaching evolution. But the irony is remarkable: a group of specialists who are nearly all nonbelievers-and who believe that science compels such a conclusion-told the public that `science is neutral' on the God question." (Larson E.J. & Witham L., "Scientists and Religion in America," Scientific American, Vol. 281, No. 3, September 1999, pp.78-83, p.81) 26/04/2002 "There is no denying, at this point, that Darwin's idea is a universal solvent, capable of cutting right to the heart of everything in sight. The question is: what does it leave behind? I have tried to show that once it passes through everything, we are left with stronger, sounder versions of our most important ideas. Some of the traditional details perish, and some of these are losses to be regretted, but good riddance to the rest of them. ... The truly dangerous aspect of Darwin's idea is its seductiveness. ... A meme that occurs in many guises in the world's folklore is the tale of the initially terrifying friend mistaken for an enemy. "Beauty and the Beast" is one of the best-known species of this story. Balancing it is "The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing." Now, which meme do you want to use to express your judgment of Darwinism? Is it truly a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing? Then reject it and fight on, ever more vigilant against the seductions of Darwin's idea, which is truly dangerous. " (Dennett D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life," , Penguin: London, 1996, p.521) 26/04/2002 "We live in a darwinian world. For many evolutionary biologists the everextending grand evolutionary synthesis promulgated in the 1930s and 1940s offers adequate explanations and serves as a consistent generator of testable hypotheses. For Stephen Jay Gould it is but a foundation, wholly inadequate to be a framework within which to build." (Wake D.B., "A few words about evolution: Building a hierarchical framework on the foundations of darwinism". Review of "The Structure of Evolutionary Theory," by Stephen Jay Gould, Belknap, 2002. Nature, Vol. 416, 25 April 2002, pp.787-788) 26/04/2002 "We can regard DNA as the book of the cell - a string of words (genes) which are themselves made up of individual letters (monomers). Proteins are the same words translated into another language with its own alphabet. Each translated word is invested with meaning, but none tells a story on its own. The alphabet of proteins has just twenty characters, and they are all molecules called amino adds. When each amino acid is appended to the character string that will become a protein, a molecule of water is constructed from unwanted atoms in the linking unit. The alphabets of RNA and DNA are even more rudimentary: they contain four characters each, and three of them are common to both - the languages are almost identical. But the characters themselves are elaborate ones, with a substructure every bit as complex as Chinese or Japanese characters. To account for life on Earth, the first task is therefore to explain where the alphabets came from and how they might have been joined up into words. Progressing from words to a book is a puzzle of another order, and we can presently only marvel at how the words assembled themselves into stories of such stunning richness and diversity." (Ball P., "H2O: A Biography of Water," , Phoenix: London, 2000, reprint, p.208) 26/04/2002 "JUPITER ... appears to have been Earth's guardian angel: it has protected our fragile, life-bearing globe from a deadly barrage of comets. George Wetherill, a planetary scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C., reached this conclusion after simulating the birth of solar systems on a desktop computer. ... Wetherill's simulations suggest that Jupiter flung trillions of comets out of our solar system within the first billion years after the sun formed, and that the planet is continuing to eject them today at a lower but steady rate. In systems lacking Jupiter size planets, however, the small inner worlds are relentlessly bombarded. Without a full- size Jupiter, Wetherill estimates, Earth would have been struck by comets at least 1,000 times more often, and catastrophic impacts of the kind that probably exterminated the dinosaurs would have occurred every 100,000 years or so instead of every 100 million. It may well be that if Jupiter weren't there, we wouldn't be here either,' says Wetherill. `Higher organisms require significant amounts of time to evolve. If this were happening every 100,000 years, you would hardly have a chance to evolve very much before you got wiped out again. I think there's a good chance we wouldn't be around to study the origin of the solar system." ("Our Friend Jove," Discover, Vol. 14, No. 7, July 1993, p.15) 28/04/2002 "Of course changes observed in populations may be of very different orders of magnitude, from those induced in a herd of domestic animals by the introduction of a new sire to phylogenetic changes leading to the origin of new classes of organisms. The former are obviously trifling in scale compared with the latter, and it may not be convenient to have all of them subsumed under the name "evolution." Experience seems to show, however, that there is no way toward an understanding of the mechanisms of macro- evolutionary changes, which require time on a geological scale, other than through a full comprehension of the micro-evolutionary processes observable within the span of a human lifetime and often controlled by man's will. For this reason we are compelled at the present level of knowledge reluctantly to put a sign of equality between the mechanisms of macro- and micro- evolution, and, proceeding on this assumption, to push our investigations as far ahead as this working hypothesis will permit." (Dobzhansky T.G., "Genetics and the Origin of Species," Columbia University Press: New York NY, , 1982, reprint, p.12) 29/04/2002 "What I don't like about the many universes theory is that it seems like another case of ad hoc or miraculous solutions. Invoking an infinite number of other universes just to explain the apparent contrivances of the one we see is pretty drastic, and in stark conflict with Occam's razor (according to which science should prefer explanations with the least number of assumptions). I think it's much more satisfactory from a scientific point of view to try to understand why things are the way they are in this universe and not to invent invisible universes to do the job." (Davies, P.C.W., "Are We Alone?: Philosophical Implications of the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life," Penguin: London, 1995, pp.79-80) 29/04/2002 "One might equally explain the course of biological evolution through openness to change, just because as we look back we see that there has been so much change. In point of fact, we believe that biological change is anomalous rather than normal. Reproduction proceeds by duplication of existing genes, with considerable safeguards against errors in duplication, so that organisms on the whole breed true; the challenge is much more to explain variation and novelty than faithful heredity and stasis. The particular course that evolution has taken is a by-product of mutation, competition, environmental change, natural selection, genetic drift, and the like, not the result of any direct natural tendency for biological entities to change. Similarly, that science has adopted new ideas in no way demonstrates that the adoption of new ideas is somehow fundamentally natural to science. Indeed, to assert that science is open to new things is to fly in the face of the evidence; and it even contradicts other common beliefs about science." (Bauer H.H., "Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method," , University of Illinois Press: Urbana and Chicago IL, 1994, p.73. Emphasis in original). 29/04/2002 "To make sense of the tension between innovation and conservatism in science, more helpful than the banal distinction between what is known and what is not known is the discrimination of three categories: the known, the known unknown, and the unknown unknown. ... The unknown unknown comprises what we do not even suspect. Indeed, were it not for history, we would not even believe that the unknown unknown exists. We learn the prevailing paradigm, and thereby not only what is known but also what is believed to remain not understood. The conventional wisdom is blind to its own inadequacy, to the fact that, sooner or later, it will be found to be wrong, in one way or another. (Bauer H.H., "Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method," , University of Illinois Press: Urbana and Chicago IL, 1994, pp.73-74) 29/04/2002 "So one can comprehend that innovators in science routinely encounter resistance if their ideas are sufficiently original; almost invariably, if those ideas contradict significant parts of the conventional wisdom; the more strongly, if novel methods are also involved; and, of course, more emphatically if the innovator is relatively unknown or an outsider to the relevant specialty. The list of discoveries resisted (only to be eventually accepted) is long indeed, and the names read nowadays like an honor roll ... It is simply the case that human beings, be they scientists or something else, do not take kindly to having their beliefs contradicted. Admittedly, discovery in science is given lip service as desirable, and scientists strain to achieve it: but what they aim for is discovery within the prevailing paradigm only. The genuinely novel arises unbidden and unforeseen out of the realm of the unknown unknown. Often it comes at the hands of a maverick or an outsider who is not hampered by the disciplinary blinders of the specialists, and inevitably it encounters incredulity, to some degree or other, at least at first. Science is open to new things only so long as they are not too new." (Bauer H.H., "Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method," , University of Illinois Press: Urbana and Chicago IL, 1994, pp.75-76. Emphasis in original) 30/04/2002 "Another weakness of the anthropic argument is that it seems the very antithesis of Occam's razor, according to which the most plausible of a possible set of explanations is that which contains the simplest ideas and least number of assumptions. To invoke an infinity of other universes just to explain one is surely carrying excess baggage to cosmic extremes, not to mention the fact that all but a minute proportion of these other universes go unobserved (except by God perhaps)." (Davies, P.C.W., "God and the New Physics," Penguin: London, 1990, reprint, p.173) May [top] 1/05/2002 "Mutation is a basic physiological process which is studied experimentally, with the aid of physical and chemical methods. On the other hand, it is manifestly impossible to reproduce in the laboratory the evolution of man from the australopithecine, or of the modern horse from an Eohippus, or of a land vertebrate from a fishlike ancestor. These evolutionary happenings are unique, unrepeatable, and irreversible. It is as impossible to turn a land vertebrate into a fish as it is to effect the reverse transformation. The applicability of the experimental method to the study of such unique historical processes is severely restricted before all else by the time intervals involved, which far exceed the lifetime of any human experimenter. ... Experimental evolution deals of necessity with only the simplest levels of the evolutionary process, sometimes called microevolution." (Dobzhansky T., "On Methods of Evolutionary Biology and Anthropology," Part I, "Biology," American Scientist, Vol. 45, No. 5, December 1957, p.388) 1/05/2002 "In 1953 Harold Urey and Stanley Miller at the University of Chicago showed that amino acids can be made by energetic processes taking place within a mixture of simple gases. They passed electrical discharges through a mixture of methane, ammonia, hydrogen and water vapour, and found small but significant quantities of relatively complex organic molecules in the solution formed when the water vapour cooled and condensed. These included the simplest amino acids, organic adds and urea. The experiment indicated that delicate chemistry is not needed to make such compounds we might expect them to appear in a prebiotic sea struck by lightning under an atmosphere of methane, hydrogen and ammonia. But the Earth's early atmosphere wasn't like this; in particular, most of the nitrogen was present as elemental nitrogen gas, not ammonia. Similar experiments with a mixture of methane, water, nitrogen and only small amounts of ammonia do, however, also generate ten of the twenty amino acids found in natural proteins. With the addition of hydrogen sulphide, the two natural sulphur-containing amino adds can be formed too. Which is all very well, except that the primitive atmosphere probably wasn't like this either: it is more likely to have been composed mostly of nitrogen and carbon monoxide and/or carbon dioxide. Spark discharge experiments that use carbon monoxide or dioxide as the source of carbon don't do half as well - the mixture that results contains little more than a single character of the protein alphabet, and the simplest one at that." (Ball P., "H2O: A Biography of Water," , Phoenix: London, 2000, reprint, p.209) 2/05/2002 "sophism. A sophism is a type of fallacy that is not just an error of reasoning, or an invalid argument, but a kind of tactic of argumentation used unfairly to try to get the best of a speech partner. ... For an example of a sophism, see the entry 'straw man fallacy'." (Walton D.N., in Honderic T., ed., "The Oxford Companion to Philosophy," Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1995, p.839) 4/05/2002 "How did man get his brain? Many years ago Charles Darwin's great contemporary, and co-discoverer with him of the principle of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace, propounded that simple question. It is a question which has bothered evolutionists ever since, and when Darwin received his copy of an article Wallace had written on this subject he was obviously shaken. It is recorded that he wrote in anguish across the paper, "No!" and underlined the "No" three times heavily in a rising fervor of objection. Today the question asked by Wallace and never satisfactorily answered by Darwin has returned to haunt us." (Eiseley L.C., "The Immense Journey," , Vintage: New York NY, 1957, reprint, p.79) 4/05/2002 "We are now in a position to define the uniqueness of human evolution. The essential character of man as a dominant organism is conceptual thought. And conceptual thought could have arisen only in a multicellular animal, an animal with bilateral symmetry, head and blood system, a vertebrate as against a mollusc or an arthropod, land vertebrate among vertebrates, a a mammal among land vertebrates. Finally, it could have arisen only in a mammalian line which was gregarious, which produced one young at a birth instead of several, and which had recently, become terrestrial after a long period of arboreal life. There is only one group of animals which fulfils these conditions-a terrestrial offshoot of the higher Primates. Thus not merely has conceptual thought been evolved only in man: it could not have been evolved except in man. There is but one path of unlimited progress through the evolutionary maze. The course of human evolution is as unique as its result. It is unique not in the trivial sense of being a different course from that of any other organism, but in the profounder sense of being the only path that could have achieved the essential characters of man. Conceptual thought on this planet is inevitably associated with a particular type of Primate body and Primate brain." (Huxley, J.S., "The Uniqueness of Man," in "The Uniqueness of Man," Chatto & Windus: London, 1941, Third Impression, pp.15- 16) 9/05/2002 "Darwin often, and correctly, harped on the claim that evolution could only be gradual (at best, you might say). As Dawkins (1986a, p. 145) says, "For Darwin, any evolution that had to be helped over the jumps by God was not evolution at all. It made a nonsense of the central point of evolution." (Dennett D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life," , Penguin: London, 1996, p.290) 10/05/2002 "More so than other motors, the flagellum resembles a machine designed by a human (Figure 1 a). The flagellar filament (propeller) is a 10 um-long, thin, rigid, cork screw-shaped structure, with a helical period of about 2 um. The filament is connected to the hook by two junctional proteins. Named according to its shape, the flexible hook acts as a universal joint permitting the filament and motor to rotate about different axes. The filament, junction, hook, and drive shaft all appear to have a common helical design. The remaining flagellar parts are rings. The L and P rings are believed to act as a bushing through which the rotating drive shaft passes. These two rings are anchored in the outer membrane and peptidoglycan, respectively. ... In the periplasm, the drive shaft inserts in a socket just above the S ring. The M ring is a 25 nm disk, which traverses the cell's inner membrane. Extending into the cytoplasm from the extended M ring is the C ring, a 45 nm annulus. A ring of about 10 membrane particles known as studs surround each flagellar motor. These probably sit in the L-shaped shelf made by the M and C rings." (DeRosier, D.J., "The Turn of the Screw: The Bacterial Flagellar Motor," Cell, Vol. 93, April 3, 1998, pp.17-20, p.17) 10/05/2002 "If the origin of the protein alphabet is a headache, making the elaborate characters of the nucleic-acid alphabet is something of a nightmare. Nonetheless, all of them have been made one way or another by the reaction of chemical substances that might, if you're an optimist, have existed on the early Earth. One component of all the nucleic-acid characters is a sugar molecule which can be created by dishing out rough treatment to formaldehyde. Another component is a so-called nucleic-acid base. There are four types of these in DNA, and four in RNA - they are like the crucial brushmarks that distinguish otherwise identical characters. The nucleic- acid bases can be fashioned from reactions involving hydrogen cyanide or a small molecule called cyanoacetylene. But all of these syntheses require indelicate loading of the dice, for example by using concentrations of the reactants greater than could have been mustered on the early Earth. (Ball P., "H2O: A Biography of Water," , Phoenix: London, 2000, reprint, p.209-210) 11/05/2002 "Many a sensible modern man must have abandoned Christianity under the pressure of three such converging convictions as these: first, that men, with their shape, structure, and sexuality, are, after all, very much like beasts, a mere variety of the animal kingdom; second, that primeval religion arose in ignorance and fear; third, that priests have blighted societies with bitterness and gloom. Those three anti-Christian arguments are very different; but they are all quite logical and legitimate; and they all converge. The only objection to them (I discover) is that they are all untrue. If you leave off looking at books about beasts and men, if you begin to look at beasts and men then (if you have any humour or imagination any sense of the frantic or the farcical) you will observe that the startling thing is not how like man is to the brutes, but how unlike he is. It is the monstrous scale of his divergence that requires an explanation. That man and brute are like is, in a sense, a truism; but that being so like they should then be so insanely unlike, that is the shock and the enigma." (Chesterton G.K., "Orthodoxy," , Fontana: London, 1961, reprint, pp.142-143) 1/05/2002 "A rather large irony overshadows Steven Pinker's career-and all of evolutionary psychology. Pinker in particular and evolutionary psychologists in general are deeply indebted to the linguist Noam Chomsky. Chomsky, who like Pinker is an MIT professor, pioneered the genetic, modular approach to the mind pursued by evolutionary psychologists. ... when I discussed the issue with him, Chomsky insisted that his doubts about neo-Darwinism are purely scientific. He accepted that natural selection probably played some role in the evolution of language and other human attributes. But given the enormous gap between human cognitive capacities and those of other animals, he thought that science could say little about how or why those capacities evolved. Darwin's theory essentially says that there is `a naturalistic explanation for things,' Chomsky elaborated. Anyone who does not believe in `divine intervention' accepts as much. The difficulty lies in determining what the correct naturalistic explanation is. Natural selection is `a factor in determining the distribution of traits and properties within these constraints. A factor, not the factor.'" (Horgan J., "The Undiscovered Mind: How the Brain Defies Explanation," , Phoenix: London, 2000, pp.177-178. Emphasis in original) 11/05/2002 "One rarely noted aspect of peer review is that, by and large and on the average but especially with the most brilliant ideas, the reviewers are less qualified than the authors of the research proposals. For one thing, each proposal is reviewed by as many as half a dozen peers, and their average competence is, solely for that reason, likely to be lower than that of the author of the proposal: there are fewer brilliant people than there are competent ones, and there are fewer very competent ones than there are moderately competent ones, in any human activity. Further, the best scientists are also those whose time is most in demand and who will not be able to respond to all the requests made to them to review ideas, proposals, papers, books, and so on; and so the burden of doing the peer reviewing trickles down toward those who have more time but less talent. In addition, of course, whoever has evolved a proposal is likely-precisely for that reason-to know more about the specific details of that particular problem than anybody else in the world." (Bauer H.H., "Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method," , University of Illinois Press: Urbana and Chicago IL, 1994, reprint, pp.118-119. Emphasis in original) 11/05/2002 "It seems to be not farfetched to compare the current state of science (and more generally that of academe) to the situation of the Church at the time of the Reformation, which has been described in the following way by De Lamar Jensen: `Until the middle years...the actual number of clergy [read scientists] increased, but then a decline set in. Even before the outbreak of the...revolt, their prestige and influence were already waning. Whether justified or not, the general population's growing disrespect for the clergy [read scientists], especially the monks [read researcher-scholars], tended to weaken some of the bonds of the Christian [read scientific] community and make the church [read scientific institutions] as a whole more vulnerable to criticism and attack. It had not been above criticism in earlier ages, but now it was becoming the practice rather than the exception to blame the institution as a whole, along with individual members of it, for infractions...of law and...ethics. As...abuses increased, the recognition and condemnation of those abuses mounted proportionally. To compensate for their declining prestige, many clergymen [read scientists] became even more avaricious [asking for ever lower teaching loads, higher salaries, freedom to consult and to found business enterprises; ignoring conflicts of interest], and the growing chasm between the priesthood [read scientists] and the laity, and between the higher and lower clergy [read administrators and practicing scientists], widened.' The Reformation was no revolution against religion itself; rather, was spurred by disenchantment with the people who officially professed it but in practice behaved badly. Just so is modern society disenchanted not with science itself but with the practices of some of those whole profession it is. ... Just as in the Reformation, society is not now in the mood to distinguish between the human failings of individuals and the activities of the institution. .... To understand must not be to excuse, or the wider society will rightly conclude that the institution is less concerned with its ideals and responsibilities than with the short-term welfare of its present members." (Bauer H.H., "Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method," , University of Illinois Press: Urbana and Chicago IL, 1994, pp.83-84. Parentheses and Emphasis in original). 12/05/2002 "As more facts accumulate, the logical and `intuitive' value of different interpretations changes and finally a consensus is reached about the truth of the matter. But this textbook myth has no congruence with reality. Long before there is any direct evidence, scientific workers have brought to the issue deep-seated prejudices; the more important the issue and the more ambiguous the evidence, the more important are the prejudices, and the greater the likelihood that two diametrically opposed and irreconcilable schools will appear. Even when seemingly incontrovertible evidence appears to decide the matter, the conflict is not necessarily resolved, for a slight redefinition of the issues results in a continuation of the struggle. It is part of the dialectic of science that the apparent solution of a problem usually reveals that we have not asked the right question in the first place, or that a much more difficult and intractable problem lies just below the surface that has been so triumphantly cleared away. And in the process of redefinition of the issues, the old parties remain, sometimes under new rubrics, but always with old points of view. This must be the case because schools of thought about unresolved problems do not derive from idiosyncratic intuitions but on deep ideological biases reflecting social and intellectual world views. A priori assumptions about the truth of particular unresolved questions are simply special cases of general prejudices. Attitudes about the kind and amount of genetic variation in populations, like all attitudes about unresolved scientific issues, reflect and are consistent with the intellectual histories of their proponents. People see new problems mirrored in a glass that has been molded by their solutions to old problems. A scientist's present view of difficult questions is chiefly influenced by the history of his intellectual and ideological development up to the present moment, and the resolution of current difficulties will in turn precondition his view of future problems." (Lewontin R.C., "The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change," Columbia University Press: New York NY, 1974, p.29) 14/05/2002 "Reconstructing the chemical origin of life is just one hurdle after another. Even if you can dream up barely plausible schemes for making the building blocks of life's principal biomolecules, joining them up is an awful business. ... Even making the links isn't the end of the matter, because water can and will sever these links in a reaction called hydrolysis ('splitting with water'). That's a problem, then, if you're supposing that the chemistry of life took place in ancient seas or lagoons. And it gets worse. Linking up two amino acids has the complication that it spits out a molecule of water, and this means that the more water there is around, the more hydrolysis will dominate over link forging. So even if chains of amino adds - the ancestors of proteins, like words that have not yet acquired meaning - could be formed, would they survive for long enough to take on meaning, to start forming sentences? Says Chris Chyba, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona, `Proteins are necessary for all life on Earth, but how could these molecules have formed in the seas of prebiotic Earth, since water acts not to link amino acids together but rather to split them apart? ... Water-based life must therefore fight a constant battle against destruction.' (Chyba C., "The stuff of life: why water?" Planetary Report, May/June 1998, in Ball P., "H2O: A Biography of Water," , Phoenix: London, 2000, reprint, p.210) 17/05/2002 "For nucleic acids, the problem of hydrolysis may be even more severe. In particular, the sugar rings that form a crucial part of the nucleic-acid alphabet are hydrolysed relatively quickly in water. In other words, although water is surely the environment in which life began, that contingency comes with plenty of problems of its own." (Ball P., "H2O: A Biography of Water," , Phoenix: London, 2000, reprint, p.210) 17/05/2002 "Since the ultra[Darwinist]s are fundamentalists at heart, and since fundamentalists generally try to stigmatize their opponents by depicting them as apostates from the one true way, may I state for the record that I (along with all other Darwinian pluralists) do not deny either the existence and central importance of adaptation, or the production of adaptation by natural selection. Yes, eyes are for seeing and feet are for moving. And, yes again, I know of no scientific mechanism other than natural selection with the proven power to build structures of such eminently workable design." (Gould, S.J., "Darwinian Fundamentalism," New York Review of Books, June 12, 1997. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1151) 18/05/2002 "One of the most remarkable motile appendages in all of nature is the bacterial flagellum, an appendage strikingly dissimilar to the flagella of eukaryotic cells, both structurally and functionally. A flagellated bacterium is shown in Figure 21-34. Unlike eukaryotic appendages, bacterial flagella are not membrane-bounded and are therefore extracellular structures. As Figure 21-35a and b illustrates, the bacterial flagellum is a spiral filament, usually about 15 um in diameter and about 10-20 um long. The filament is attached to a hook, which is, in turn, connected by a rod to four ringlike structures in the base. The rod penetrates the outer membrane, the peptidoglycan wall, and the inner (plasma) membrane. Two of the rings are anchored in the outer membrane, and two in the plasma membrane. The two rings in the plasma membrane are called the S (stator) ring and the M (motor) ring (Figure 21- 35c). ... . It is now quite clear, however, that the flagellum actually rotates as a rigid, helical structure, driven by a rotary "motor" at the base of each filament. The S ring in the plasma membrane is anchored to the peptidoglycan layer and is regarded as the nonrotating stator, as the name suggests. The M ring in the plasma membrane rotates against the S ring and is in effect the motor that drives the flagellum. (see Figure 21-35c). Requiring as it does the structural equivalents of a rotor, a stator, and rotary bearings, such a mechanism was originally considered highly unlikely, and is certainly without precedent in the biological world. But a series of ingenious experiments provided conclusive evidence for just such a propeller-like rotary drive." (Becker W.M., Reece J.B. & Poenie M.F., "The World of the Cell," , Benjamin/Cummings: Menlo Park CA, Third Edition, 1999, reprint, pp.706-707) 18/05/2002 "Compounding the problem was the additional challenge, to all evolutionary theories both directed and undirected, that at a gross morphological level the organic world appears to be markedly discontinuous. There are innumerable examples of complex organs and adaptations which are not led up to by any known or even, in some cases, conceivable series of feasible intermediates. In the case, for example, of the flight feather of a bird, the amniotic egg, the bacterial flagellum, the avian lung, no convincing explanation of how they could have evolved gradually has ever been provided. The morphological discontinuities and especially organs or adaptations of extreme complexity, exhibiting what Michael Behe terms `irreducible complexity,' have, ever since Darwin, provided ammunition for special creationists who have claimed that these "morphological gaps" could not have been closed gradually by natural evolutionary processes and that they represent prima facie evidence for Divine intervention in the course of nature." (Denton M.J., "Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe," Free Press: New York NY, 1998, pp.274-275) 18/05/2002 "The most that we can say is that some lineages have become more complex in the course of time. Complexity is hard to define or to measure, but there is surely some sense in which elephants and oak trees are more complex than bacteria, and bacteria than the first replicating molecules. Our thesis is that the increase has depended on a small number of major transitions in the way in which genetic information is transmitted between generations. Some of these transitions were unique: for example, the origin of the eukaryotes from the prokaryotes, of meiotic sex, and of the genetic code itself. Other transitions, such as the origin of multicellularity, and of animal societies, have occurred several times independently. There is no reason to regard the unique transitions as the inevitable result of some general law: one can imagine that life might have got stuck at the prokaryote or at the protist stage of evolution." (Maynard Smith J. & Szathmary E., "The Major Transitions in Evolution," W.H. Freeman: Oxford UK, 1995, p.3) 19/05/2002 "A belief in evolution by natural selection is widely held, but even among scientists it is often held more as a matter of faith than of reason." (Glynn, I., "An Anatomy of Thought: The Origin and Machinery of the Mind," , Phoenix: London, 2000, reprint, p.6) 20/05/2002 "But, on the other hand, the Scriptures do not disclose the method of man's creation. Whether man's physical system is or is not derived, by natural descent, from the lower animals, the record of creation does not inform us. As the command `Let the earth bring forth living creatures ` (Gen. 1:24) does not exclude the idea of mediate creation, through natural generation, so the forming of man `of the dust of the ground' (Gen. 2:7) does not in itself determine whether the creation of man's body was mediate or immediate. We may believe that man sustained to the highest preceding brute the same relation which the multiplied bread and fish sustained to the five loaves and two fishes (Mat. 14: 19), or which the wine sustained to the water whic transformed at Cana (John 2:7-10), or which the multiplied oil sustained to the original oil in the O.T. miracle (2 K. 4:1-7). The `dust,' before the breathing of the spirit into it, may have been animated dust." (Strong A.H., "Systematic Theology," , Judson Press: Valley Forge PA, 1967, reprint, p.465) 24/05/2002 "Soon after the publication of The Origin of Species, nearly all biologists acknowledged the basic facts of the evolutionary history of life, but the significance of natural selection and other evolutionary processes are still subject to serious scientific debate. In fact, there is currently more controversy regarding the mechanisms of evolution than at any time since the early years of the twentieth century. Alternative theories have been proposed to explain nearly all aspects of evolution, from the role of natural selection within populations to the largest-scale patterns and processes of evolution in plants and animals over the past 500 million years. Why should such a widely accepted concept in an extensively studied discipline still face such fundamental problems? One of the major reasons is that studies of modern populations and evidence from the fossil record give the impression of very different patterns and rates of evolution." (Carroll R.L., "Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1997, pp.1-2) 26/05/2002 "The current (synthetic) theory of evolution has been criticized on the grounds that it implies that macroevolutionary processes (speciation and morphological diversification) are gradual. The extent to which macroevolution is gradual or punctuational remains to be ascertained. Macroevolutionary processes are underlain by microevolutionary phenomena and are compatible with the synthetic theory of evolution. But microevolutionary principles are compatible with both gradualism and punctualism; therefore, logically they entail neither. Thus, macroevolution and microevolution are decoupled in the important sense that macroevolutionary patterns cannot be deduced from microevolutionary principles." (Stebbins G.L. & Ayala F.J., "Is a New Evolutionary Synthesis Necessary?" Science, Vol. 213, 28 August 1981, pp.967-971, p.967) 27/05/2002 "Can the microevolutionary processes studied by population geneticists account for macroevolutionary phenomena or do we need to postulate new kinds of genetic processes? The large morphological (phenotypic) changes observed in evolutionary history, and the rapidity with which they appear in the geological record, is one major matter of concern. Another issue is stasis-the apparent Persistence of species, with little or no morphological change, for hundreds of thousands or millions of years. The apparent dilemma is that microevolutionary processes apparently yield small but Continuous changes, while macroevolution as seen by punctualists occurs by large and rapid bursts of change followed by long periods without change. Forty years ago Goldschmidt argued that the incompatibility is real: `The decisive step in evolution, the first step towards macroevolution, the step from one species to another, requires another evolutionary method than that of sheer accumulation of micromutations'" (Stebbins G.L. & Ayala F.J., "Is a New Evolutionary Synthesis Necessary?" Science, Vol. 213, 28 August 1981, pp.967-971, p.969) 28/05/2002 "The point is that what makes us distinctive in the animal world is our stupendous capacity to learn. It is what has long enabled us to change with changing conditions. People who think that because aggression and greed are so widespread we must be doomed by our genes to have these qualities, are closing their eyes to what it means to be a learning species." (Fisher M.P., "Recent Revolutions in Anthropology," Franklin Watts: New York NY, 1986, p.15) 28/05/2002 "We have no need to postulate gods who hand down commandments to us, because we can understand ethics as a natural phenomenon that arises in the course of the evolution of social, intelligent, long-lived mammals who possess the capacity to recognize each other and to remember the past behaviour of others. ... Since Darwin, there has been a widely supported scientific theory that offers an explanation of the origin of ethics. ... Once we admit that Darwin was right when he argued that human ethics evolved from the social instincts that we inherited from our non-human ancestors, we can put aside the hypothesis of a divine origin for ethics. " (Singer P., "Introduction," in Singer P., ed., "Ethics," Oxford Readers, Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1994, pp.5-6) 29/05/2002 "I agree with Maynard Smith (1969) that `The main task of any theory of evolution is to explain adaptive complexity i.e. to explain the same set of facts which Paley used as evidence of a Creator,' I suppose people like me might be labeled neo-Paleyists, or perhaps `transformed Paleyists.' We concur with Paley that adaptive complexity demands a very special kind of explanation either a Designer as Paley taught, or something such as natural selection that does the job of a designer Indeed, adaptive complexity is probable the best diagnostic of the presence of life itself." (Dawkins, R., "Universal Darwinism", in Ruse M., ed., "But is it Science?: The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy," Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, 1996, p.203) 29/05/2002 "From time to time I shall need an example of an undisputed adaptation, and the time-honored eye will serve the purpose as well as ever (Paley, 1828; Darwin, 1859; any fundamentalist tract). "As far as the examination of the instrument goes; there is precisely the same proof that the eye was made for vision, as there is that the telescope was made for assisting it. They are made upon the same principles; both being adjusted to the laws by which the transmission and refraction of rays of light are regulated"(Paley 1828, V. 1, p. 17). If a similar instrument were found upon another planet, some special explanation would be called for. Either there is a God, or, if we are going to explain the universe in terms of blind physical forces, those blind physical forces are going to have to be deployed in a very peculiar way. The same is not true of non-living objects, such as the moon or the solar system ... . Paley's instincts here were right." (Dawkins, R., "Universal Darwinism," in Ruse M., ed., "But is it Science?: The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy," Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, 1996, p.204) 29/05/2002 "A complex thing is a statistically improbable thing, something with a very low a priori likelihood of coming into being. The number of possible ways of arranging the 10^27 atoms of a human body is obviously inconceivably large. Of these possible ways only very few would be recognized as a human body. But this is not. by itself, the point. Any existing configuration of atoms is, a posteriori, unique as `improbable,' with hindsight, as any other The point is that, of all possible ways of arranging those 10^27 atoms only a tiny minority would constitute anything remotely resembling a machine that worked to keep itself in being, and to reproduce its kind. Living things are not just statistically improbable in the trivial sense of hindsight; their statistical improbability is limited by the a priori constraints of design. They are adaptively complex." (Dawkins, R., "Universal Darwinism," in Ruse M., ed., "But is it Science?: The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy," Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, 1996, pp.203-204. Emphasis in original) 30/05/2002 "But the order of the Universe is not an assumption; it's an observed fact. We detect the light from distant quasars only because the laws of electromagnetism are the same ten billion light years away as here. The spectra of those quasars are recognizable only because the same chemical elements are present there as here, and because the same laws of quantum mechanics apply. The motion of galaxies around one another follows familiar Newtonian gravity. Gravitational lenses and binary pulsar spin-downs reveal general relativity in the depths of space. We could have lived in a Universe with different laws in every province, but we do not. This fact cannot but elicit feelings of reverence and awe." (Sagan C., "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark," , Headline: London, 1997, reprint, p.260. Emphasis in original) 30/05/2002 "In 1277 Etienne Tempier, Bishop of Paris, issued a condemnation several theses derived from Aristotelianism- that God could not allow any form of planetary motion other than circular, that He could not make a vacuum, and many more. The condemnation of 1277 helped inspire a form of theology known as voluntarism, which admitted no limitations on God's power. It regarded natural law not as Forms inherent within nature but as divine commands imposed from outside nature. Voluntarism insisted that the structure of the universe - indeed, its very existence - is not rationally necessary but is contingent upon the free and transcendent will of God." (Pearcey N.R.* & Thaxton C.B.*, "The Soul of Science: Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy," Crossway Books: Wheaton IL, 1994, p.31. Emphasis in original) 30/05/2002 "Needless to say, the conflict between punctualism and gradualism is not the only macroevolutionary issue that cannot be decided by logical inference from microevolutionary principles. Consider, for example, the question of rates of morphological evolution. Three groups of crossopterygian fishes flourished during the Devonian. The lungfishes (Dipnoi) changed little for hundreds of millions of years and remain as relics. The coelacanths became highly successful in the open ocean until the Cretaceous, then declined and stagnated, leaving only the relictual Latimeria. The rhipidistians, in contrast, evolved Into the amphibians, reptiles, and, finally, birds and mammals. Models to explain divergent rates of morphological evolution must incorporate factors other than microevolutionary principles, including rates of speciation and the environmental and biotic conditions that may account for successions of morphological change in some but not other lineages." (Stebbins G.L. & Ayala F.J., "Is a New Evolutionary Synthesis Necessary?" Science, Vol. 213, 28 August 1981, pp.967-971, p.971) 30/05/2002 "Distinctive macroevolutionary theories and models have been advanced concerning such issues as rates of morphological evolution, patterns of species extinctions, and historical factors regulating taxonomic diversity. As long as these theories and models are compatible with the theories and laws of population biology, the decision as to which one among alternative hypotheses is correct cannot be reached by recourse to microevolutionary principles. Such a decision must rather be based on appropriate tests with the use of macroevolutionary evidence. Thus, macroevolution is an autonomous field of evolutionary study and, in this epistemologically very important sense, macroevolution is decoupled from microevolution." (Stebbins G.L. & Ayala F.J., "Is a New Evolutionary Synthesis Necessary?" Science, Vol. 213, 28 August 1981, pp.967-971, p.971) 30/05/2002 "We might have lived in a Universe in which nothing could be understood by a few simple laws, in which Nature was complex beyond our abilities to understand, in which laws that apply on Earth are invalid on Mars, or in a distant quasar. But the evidence - not the preconceptions, the evidence - proves otherwise. Luckily for us, we live in a Universe in which much can be 'reduced' to a small number of comparatively simple laws of Nature. Otherwise we might have lacked the intellectual capacity and grasp to comprehend the world." (Sagan C., "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark," , Headline: London, 1997, reprint, pp.260-261) 30/05/2002 "A transparent pebble, polished by the sea, might act as a lens, focusing a real image. The fact that it is an efficient optical device is not particularly interesting because, unlike an eye or a telescope. it is too simple. We do not feel the need to invoke anything remotely resembling the concept of design. The eye and the telescope have many parts, all coadapted and working together to achieve the same functional end. The polished pebble has far fewer coadapted features: the coincidence of transparency, high refractive index and mechanical forces that polish the surface in a curved shape. The odds against such a threefold coincidence are not particularly great. No special explanation is called for." (Dawkins, R., "Universal Darwinism", in Ruse M., ed., "But is it Science?: The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy", Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, 1996, pp.204- 205) 31/05/2002 "Here I am in a Boston restaurant with an accomplished physicist who matter-of-factly assures me that his new book will revolutionise science. Not just parts of science, but everything from the theory of evolution to the very nature of space and time. ... My dining companion is Stephen Wolfram, physicist extraordinaire. ... In 1988, he released his Mathematica software, having set up his own company to develop and sell it to scientists and engineers. .... For the past 11 years, he has continued to be his company's hands-on chief executive while privately pursuing a research programme. He has controversially chosen not take the usual route of writing up his work in papers submitted to fellow academics for peer review, but to publish it himself in a 1,197-page tome, A New Kind of Science, written for a lay audience as well as for scientists." (Farmelo G., "Is this man bigger than Newton and Darwin?" Review of "A New Kind of Science," by Stephen Wolfram, Wolfram Media, 2002. Daily Telegraph, 15 May 2002. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/connected/main.jhtml?xml=/connected/2002/05/15/ecfwolf15.xml) 31/05/2002 "Biologists argue that the complex patterns found in living things - their shape and their markings - are simply the result of evolution by natural selection. But Wolfram reckons that too much weight has been put on this idea, because `no one knows how such complicated stuff emerged out of evolution'. His answer is that nature uses simple computer programs easily to produce complex patterns and shapes of organisms, and then may use natural selection to choose the ones that confer the ability to survive in their environments. `I've come to have some sympathy with creationists,' he comments as he cuts up his steak. `Natural selection isn't everything, after all.'" (Farmelo G., "Is this man bigger than Newton and Darwin?" Review of "A New Kind of Science," by Stephen Wolfram, Wolfram Media, 2002. Daily Telegraph, 15 May 2002. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/connected/main.jhtml?xml=/connected/2002/05/15/ecfwolf15.xml) June [top] 1/06/2002 "It is the habit of some evolutionists to sneer at such a line of argument and to inquire why an omnipotent God should be obliged to create so many animals on the same general plan. Such statements seem to assume that God could not or would not create individuals with common points of similarity and with their bodies built on the same general scheme, but that if He created at all He must have created every separate individual species of plant and animal with no points of similarity with other species! We might with justice reply to such an objection with the question as to why He should not create them similar? As a matter of fact, however, would not a world order in which every species was different from every other species be far harder to attribute to one God than the world order with its similarities such as we see around us?" (Hamilton F.E.*, "The Basis of Evolutionary Faith: A Critique of the Theory of Evolution," James Clarke & Co: London, 1931, pp.149-150) 2/06/2002 "In 1862 J.D. Hooker, the botanist, challenged Darwin's claim that natural selection was in any sense a creative agency. Hooker's letter is lost, but from Darwin's replies it is clear that he said something like this: "Your theory of evolution by natural selection implies that if every organism had survived and produced offspring, then every kind of plant and animal that exists and has ever existed would have been produced without any natural selection at all (as well, of course, as myriads of others). In other words all the characters present in all organisms were the necessary consequences of the earliest and most primitive organism." Darwin had never thought of this before. For a few anxious days, he realized that Paley could not be disposed of as easily as he had imagined. He "was fairly pitched head over heels with astonishment." Yet to Hooker's claim that "every single difference which we see might have occurred without any selection," he could only go on to say: "I do and have always fully agreed." Thus, accepting Hooker's argument, Darwin was, forced towards the view that the earliest organisms, though apparently so small and simple, were really so gigantically complex that they contained the potentiality of producing all the other organisms that would ever exist on earth. It followed, therefore, that if true the theory of evolution would not abolish Paley's argument from design, but would reinforce it a hundredfold. No wonder Darwin was disturbed. He had sought to escape from God: now he found his old Enemy waiting for him in a new hiding place." (Clark R.E.D.*, "Darwin: Before & After: An Examination and Assessment," , Paternoster: London, 1966, reprint, pp.88-89) 2/06/2002 "The differences between quantum speciation and conventional geographical speciation are as follows. ... Quantum speciation is rapid, requiring only a few generations. ... The ancestors of new species do not include a large proportion of the populations belonging to the preexisting one, and may consist of only one or a few individuals. Conventional speciation is a process of splitting, quantum speciation is a budding process. ... Conventional speciation in its entirety is either guided by or is a byproduct of natural selection. Quantum speciation usually and perhaps always including one or more stochastic or chance events." (Dobzhansky T.G., Ayala F.J., Stebbins G.L. & Valentine J.W., "Evolution," W.H. Freeman & Co: San Francisco CA, 1977, pp.198- 199) 2/06/2002 "To the majority of educated people in the western world, my starting position about the origin of life is probably less acceptable than the idea of evolution by natural selection. Yet as a basis for trying to understand the nature of minds it is just as important. For if there is a supernatural element in the origin of life, a clue to the understanding of the mind might lie in that earlier mystery. If the origin of life can be explained without invoking any supernatural processes, it seems more profitable to look elsewhere for clues to an understanding of the mind." (Glynn, I., "An Anatomy of Thought: The Origin and Machinery of the Mind," , Phoenix: London, 2000, reprint, p.6) 2/06/2002 "Although Darwin's theory sought to deal with evolution over all time scales, almost all of his evidence was drawn from the modern biota. In the absence of adequate evidence from fossils, he simply extrapolated the patterns and processes that he could study in living organisms to the uncounted millions of years of the history of life. This is most clearly shown by the only illustration that appeared in the first edition of The Origin of Species .... Darwin used this figure twice in successive paragraphs, first to illustrate the pattern of evolution over tens to hundreds of thousands of generations within individual populations and species, and later to show the pattern of change over millions and hundreds of millions of generations. He argued that both the patterns and processes of evolution were essentially identical over these vastly different time scales. Although many biologists and popular textbooks since the time of Darwin have perpetuated this concs conc