Stephen E. Jones

Creation/Evolution Quotes: Unclassified quotes: January 2006

[Home] [Updates] [Site map] [Quotes, Unclassified, Classified]

The following are quotes added to my Unclassified Quotes database in January 2006. The date format is dd/mm/yy. See copyright conditions at end.

[Index: Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec]


2/01/2006
"falsifiability The property of a statement or theory that it is capable of being refuted by experience. In the 
philosophy of science of Popper falsifiability is the great merit of genuine scientific theory, as opposed to 
unfalsifiable pseudo-science, notably psychoanalysis and historical materialism. Popper's idea was that it could 
be a positive virtue in a scientific theory that it is bold, conjectural, and goes beyond the evidence, but that it had 
to be capable of facing possible refutation. If each and every way things turn out is compatible with the theory, 
then it is no longer a scientific theory; but, for instance, an ideology or article of faith." (Blackburn, S., "The 
Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy," [1994], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1996, p.135. Emphasis original)

2/01/2006
"falsifiability n. A falsifiable hypothesis is one which can be put to a test by which it could 
conceivably be refuted. The concept is important in Karl Popper's philosophy of science, according to which the 
distinctive feature of any scientific theory is that its hypotheses can be put to a test. The 
distinctive feature of a good scientific theory is that its hypotheses pass the test. The contrast is 
with pseudo-science. The adherents of a pseudo-science are able to cling to its hypotheses no matter how 
events turn out, because the hypotheses are not testable." (Mautner, T., "falsifiability," in "The Penguin 
Dictionary of Philosophy," [1996], Penguin: London, Revised, 2000, p.195. Emphasis original)

3/01/2006
"KARL POPPER PROVIDES the indispensable starting point for understanding the difference between science 
and pseudoscience. Popper spent his formative years in early twentieth century Vienna, where intellectual life 
was dominated by science-based ideologies like Marxism and the psychoanalytic schools of Freud and Adler. 
These were widely accepted as legitimate branches of natural science, and they attracted large followings among 
intellectuals because they appeared to have such immense explanatory power. Acceptance of either Marxism or 
psychoanalysis had, as Popper observed, the effect of an intellectual conversion or revelation, opening your 
eyes to a new truth hidden from those not yet initiated. Once your eyes were thus opened you saw confirming 
instances everywhere: the world was full of verifications of the theory. Whatever happened always confirmed it. 
Thus its truth appeared manifest; and unbelievers were clearly people who did not want to see the manifest truth; 
who refused to see it, either because it was against their class interest, or because of their repressions which 
were still 'un-analyzed' and crying aloud for treatment ... A Marxist could not open a newspaper without finding 
on every page confirming evidence for his interpretation of history; not only in the news, but also in its 
presentation-which revealed the class bias of the paper-and especially of course in what the paper did not say. 
The Freudian analysts emphasized that their theories were constantly verified by their 'clinical observations.' 
Popper saw that a theory that appears to explain everything actually explains nothing. If wages fell this was 
because the capitalists were exploiting the workers, as Marx predicted they would, and if wages rose this was 
because the capitalists were trying to save a rotten system with bribery, which was also what Marxism predicted. 
A psychoanalyst could explain why a man would commit murder- or, with equal facility, why the same man would 
sacrifice his own life to save another. According to Popper, however, a theory with genuine explanatory power 
makes risky predictions, which exclude most possible outcomes. Success in prediction is impressive only to the 
extent that failure was a real possibility. Popper was impressed by the contrast between the methodology of Marx 
or Freud on the one hand, and Albert Einstein on the other. Einstein almost recklessly exposed his General 
Theory of Relativity to falsification by predicting the outcome of a daring experiment. If the outcome had been 
other than as predicted, the theory would have been discredited. The Freudians in contrast looked only for 
confirming examples, and made their theory so flexible that everything counted as confirmation. Marx did make 
specific predictions-concerning the inevitable crises of capitalism, for example-but when the predicted events 
failed to occur his followers responded by modifying the theory so that it still `explained' whatever had 
happened. Popper set out to answer not only the specific question of how Einstein's scientific method differed 
from the pseudoscience of Marx and Freud, but also the more general question of what `science' is and how it 
differs from philosophy or religion." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Darwin on Trial," [1991], InterVarsity Press: Downers 
Grove IL, Second edition, 1993, p.147)

3/01/2006
"I know of only two alternatives to Darwinism that have been offered as explanations of the organised and 
apparently purposeful complexity; of life. These are God and Lamarckism. I am afraid I shall give God rather short 
shrift. He may have many virtues: no doubt he is invaluable as a pricker of the conscience and a comfort to the 
dying and the bereaved, but as an explanation of organised complexity he simply will not do. It is organised 
complexity we are trying to explain, so it is footling to invoke in explanation a being sufficiently organised and 
complex to create it." (Dawkins, R., "The Necessity of Darwinism," New Scientist, Vol. 94, 15 April 1982, 
pp.130-132, p.130)

3/01/2006
"So, cumulative selection can manufacture complexity while single-step selection cannot. But cumulative 
selection cannot work unless there is some minimal machinery of replication and replicator power, and the only 
machinery of replication that we know seems too complicated to have come into existence by means of anything 
less than many generations of cumulative selection! Some people see this as a fundamental flaw in the whole 
theory of the blind watchmaker. They see it as the ultimate proof that there must originally have been a designer, 
not a blind watchmaker but a far-sighted supernatural watchmaker. Maybe, it is argued, the Creator does not 
control the day-to-day succession of evolutionary events; maybe he did not frame the tiger and the lamb, maybe 
he did not make a tree, but he did set up the original machinery of replication and replicator power, the original 
machinery of DNA and protein that made cumulative selection, and hence all of evolution, possible. This is a 
transparently feeble argument, indeed it is obviously self-defeating. Organized complexity is the thing that we are 
having difficulty in explaining. Once we are allowed simply to postulate organized complexity, if only the 
organized complexity of the DNA/ protein replicating engine, it is relatively easy to invoke it as a generator of yet 
more organized complexity. That, indeed, is what most of this book is about. But of course any God capable of 
intelligently designing something as complex as the DNA/protein replicating machine must have been at least as 
complex and organized as that machine itself. Far more so if we suppose him additionally capable of such 
advanced functions as listening to prayers and forgiving sins. To explain the origin of the DNA/protein machine 
by invoking a supernatural Designer is to explain precisely nothing, for it leaves unexplained the origin of the 
Designer. You have to say something like 'God was always there', and if you allow yourself that kind of lazy way 
out, you might as well just say 'DNA was always there', or 'Life was always there', and be done with it. The more 
we can get away from miracles, major improbabilities, fantastic coincidences, large chance events, and the more 
thoroughly we can break large chance events up into a cumulative series of small chance events, the more 
satisfying to rational minds our explanations will be." (Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence 
of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design," W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, 1986, p.141)

3/01/2006
"[To explain via] a supernatural Designer is to explain precisely nothing for it leaves unexplained the origin of the 
Designer. You have to say something like `God was always there,' and if you allow yourself that kind of lazy way 
out, you might as well just say `DNA was always there,' or `Life was always there,' and be done with it.' [Dawkins, 
R., "The Blind Watchmaker," W.W. Norton, 1986, p.141] ... Dawkins criticizes design for committing an 
unacceptable regress in which the designer in turn needs to be explained. The problem with this criticism is that it 
can be applied whenever scientists introduce a novel theoretical entity. When Ludwig Boltzmann introduced his 
kinetic theory of heat back in the late 1800s and invoked the motion of unobservable particles (what we now call 
atoms and molecules) to explain heat one might just as well have argued that such unobservable particles do not 
explain anything because they themselves need to be explained." (Dembski, W.A.*, "Intelligent Design: The 
Bridge Between Science and Theology," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1999, pp.253,255)

3/01/2006
"There is a lot of middle ground, however, between a statement that `explains precisely nothing' and a statement 
that does not explain everything. Admittedly, the naked statement that `God created life' does not explain very 
much, but neither does the naked statement that `life somehow evolved.' That is why the validity or invalidity of 
the neo- Darwinian mechanism (or some precisely specified materialist alternative) is such an important question 
for theology and philosophy, as well as science. If I say that `the first life form was designed by intelligence,' my 
statement explains something, even if I can say nothing about the identity of the designer or the means by which 
the design was executed. What it explains (if it is true) is that we are on the wrong road if we are seeking to 
discover how life can be made without a designing intelligence. Detailed truth builds upon basic truth. If we base 
our research on counterfactual assumptions we are likely to be heading up a blind alley. It is also illogical to 
reject a basic starting point simply because it is a starting point, and therefore rests upon something whose 
origin is unexplained. The nature of explanation is that one thing is explained on the basis of something else 
which is taken for granted, and the chain of explanation must either end at some point or go around in an endless 
circle." (Johnson, P.E.*, "How Can We Tell Science from Religion?" Paper delivered at the Conference on 
the Origin of Intelligent Life in the Universe, Sponsored by the International School of Plasma Physics in Varenna, 
Italy, July 28-31, 1998. Access Research Network, 1998)

3/01/2006
"Modern theologians of any sophistication have given up believing in instantaneous creation. The evidence for 
some sort of evolution has become too overwhelming. But many theologians who call themselves evolutionists, 
for instance the Bishop of Birmingham ... smuggle God in by the back door: they allow him some sort of 
supervisory role over the course that evolution has taken, either influencing key moments in evolutionary history 
(especially, of course, human evolutionary history), or even meddling more comprehensively in the day-
to-day events that add up to evolutionary change. We cannot disprove beliefs like these, especially if it is 
assumed that God took care that his interventions always closely mimicked what would be expected from 
evolution by natural selection. All that we can say about such beliefs is, firstly, that they are superfluous and, 
secondly, that they assume the existence of the main thing we want to explain, namely organized 
complexity. The one thing that makes evolution such a neat theory is that it explains how organized complexity 
can arise out of primeval simplicity. If we want to postulate a deity capable of engineering all the organized 
complexity in the world, either instantaneously or by guiding evolution, that deity must already have been vastly 
complex in the first place. The creationist, whether a naive Bible-thumper or an educated bishop, simply 
postulates an already existing being of prodigious intelligence and complexity. If we are going to allow 
ourselves the luxury of postulating organized complexity without offering an explanation, we might as well make a 
job of it and simply postulate the existence of life as we know it!" (Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker: Why the 
Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design," W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, 1986, p.316. 
Emphasis original)

3/01/2006
"The same failure to think things through is evident in Dawkins' views on religion. There is nothing in Darwinism, 
even in its most naturalistic form, that must lead one to despise religion as Dawkins does. There is every 
indication that religion is natural to man and conducive, on the whole, to his survival. It can give him hope in 
adversity, strengthen family bonds, and motivate sacrifice for the common good. Dawkins calls it a virus; but if it 
is, it is one that, according to the latest research, makes us healthier. `Faith sufferers,' as Dawkins calls them, 
seem to suffer less from a wide array of ills. Among other things, they are less given to depression, anxiety, 
addiction, criminality, suicide, and divorce. To state these facts is not to preach the prosperity gospel, but to see 
the weakness of Dawkins' position even on its own naturalistic terms. Without religion, says Dawkins, we would 
not have wars of religion or religious persecution. True. And without sex, fathers, families, material possessions, 
and governments, we would not have sex crimes, abusive fathers, dysfunctional families, greed for material 
possessions, and oppressive governments. Every natural and necessary thing can be perverted, even reason. 
Religion has led to hateful ideas, but has any Christian writer ever published ideas as hateful as the social 
Darwinism of H.G. Wells? Religion has led to persecutions, but none even nearly as massive as those produced 
by militant irreligion. More people were killed by the `scientific atheism' of communism on an average day than 
the Spanish Inquisition killed in an average decade. And largely responsible for this fact was a teaching of 
contempt for religion of exactly the kind that Dawkins propagates." (Barr, S.M., "The Devil's Chaplain 
Confounded," First Things, 145, August/September 2004, pp.25-31)

3/01/2006
"Dawkins gave an interview to Belief.net recently. [Sheahen, L., "Religion: For Dummies," Beliefnet, 
December 9, 2003] He was asked whether he could think of anything, just `one positive, if minor, thing' that 
religion has done for the good. No, he replied, he really couldn't. What about great religious art? `That's not 
religion,' said Dawkins, `it is just because the Church had the money. Great artists like ... Bach ... would have done 
whatever they were told to do.' So Johann Sebastian Bach was just in it for the money. What this sordid remark 
reveals, apart from amazing ignorance and philistinism, is the mind of a true fanatic. It is not enough for Dawkins 
to say that religion is bad on the whole; it must be wholly bad. " (Barr, S.M., "The Devil's Chaplain 
Confounded," First Things, 145, August/September 2004, pp.25-31) 

3/01/2006
"Even without his bigotry, we could not expect balanced judgment or logical consistency from Dawkins, because 
he is a man in a muddle. One encounters in A Devil's Chaplain at least three Dawkinses: there is Dawkins 
the Humanist, Dawkins the Reasoner, and Dawkins the Darwinist. Each sits on a different branch, sawing away at 
the branches on which the others sit. Dawkins the Humanist preaches, inveighs, denounces; he bristles with 
moral indignation. Dawkins the Darwinist tells him, however, that his humanism is speciesist vanity, his moral 
standards arbitrary, and his indignation empty. Dawkins the Humanist rebels, proclaiming himself (in human 
affairs) passionately anti-Darwinian. Dawkins the Reasoner joins the rebellion, declaring that our minds allow us 
to transcend our genetic inheritance. Dawkins the Darwinist answers with lethal effect that our brains `were only 
designed to understand the mundane details of how to survive in the stone-age African savannah.' The blame for 
this muddle lies not with humanism, reason, or even Darwinism. It lies with Dawkins' atheism and materialism, 
which prevent any coherent viewpoint from emerging because they deny the spiritual soul in man. That soul is 
indeed a blessed gift. It is precisely `what is so special about humans.' It is what enables us to be people of 
reason and not just animals programmed to survive on the African savannah. It is what allows us to grasp moral 
truth and to have the freedom to follow it rather than the laws of matter or the law of the jungle. It is what makes it 
possible for us to have that hope and love to which the subtitle of Dawkins' book refers, but which are absent 
from its pages, and about which he has nothing in the end to say." (Barr S.M., "The Devil's Chaplain 
Confounded," First Things, 145, August/September 2004, pp.25-31)

4/01/2006
"Meanwhile, during the same years, biologists, after decades of disagreeing over the mechanism of evolution to 
the point of fostering reports of Darwinism lying on its `death-bed,' began to forge a common explanation of 
evolution, which came to be known, perhaps misleadingly, as the modern or neo-Darwinian synthesis. 
Geneticists, taxonomists, and paleontologists, who had long worked virtually isolated from one another, finally 
began interacting-and agreeing on the centrality of natural selection in the evolutionary process. In doing so, 
they repudiated other evolutionary explanations, particularly ones that gave evolution the appearance of having 
a purpose. This created, in the words of the historian- biologist William B. Provine, an `evolutionary constriction' 
that squeezed any talk of supernatural design out of biological discourse. `The evolutionary constriction,' he 
asserts, `ended all rational hope of purpose in evolution,' thus making belief in Darwinism the functional 
equivalent of atheism. Many evolutionists remained devout Christians and Jews, but it became increasingly 
difficult to do so on the basis of the scientific evidence for evolution." (Numbers, R.L., "Darwinism Comes to 
America," Harvard University Press: Cambridge MA, 1998, p.4)

4/01/2006
"The evolutionary constriction scarcely influenced the content of high school biology textbooks until after 1957, 
when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik into space, greatly embarrassing the American scientific 
establishment. Politicians and science-policy experts quickly pinpointed the inferior scientific education of 
Americans as the underlying cause of the country's slide to second place in the space race. To remedy the 
situation, the federal government began pouring large amounts of money into improving science textbooks for 
high school students. In biology, where leading practitioners were complaining that `one hundred years without 
Darwinism are enough,' the funds went to the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), which produced a 
series of texts featuring evolution as the centerpiece of modern biology. When these unabashedly proevolution 
texts descended on American classrooms in the early 1960s, they produced howls of protest from conservative 
Christians, who regarded the BSCS books as an ungodly `attempt to ram evolution down the throats of our 
children.'" (Numbers, R.L., "Darwinism Comes to America," Harvard University Press: Cambridge MA, 1998, p.5)

4/01/2006
"For over a quarter-century after the Scopes trial in 1925, American textbook publishers tried to avoid 
antagonizing conservative Christians by saying as little as possible about evolution. This policy of `neutrality 
based on silence' began to crumble in the late 1950S, after the Soviet Union in 1957 successfully launched 
Sputnik, the first artificial satellite to circle the earth. An embarrassed United States sought to regain world 
leadership in science and technology by pouring millions of dollars into improving science education. Backed by 
generous funding from the National Science Foundation, a group of biologists in the American Institute of 
Biological Sciences established a center at the University of Colorado, the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study 
(BSCS), to produce state-of-the-art biology texts. Responding in part to complaints from leading biologists that 
`one hundred years without Darwinism are enough,' the BSCS authors wove evolution into their material as `the 
warp and woof of modern biology.' After extensive testing in over a thousand schools, the BSCS in 1963 issued 
three versions of its tenth-grade text, each identified by the dominant color of its cover: blue, yellow, or green. 
Before long nearly half of the high schools in America were using these books or other curriculum materials 
developed by the BSCS-and introducing hundreds of thousands of high-school students to their apelike 
ancestors." (Numbers, R.L., "The Creationists: the Evolution of Scientific Creationism," [1992], University of 
California Press: Berkeley CA, 1993, pp.238-239)

4/01/2006
"In the early 1920s creationists succeeded in outlawing the teaching of evolution in three American states. In 
Tennessee in 1925, John T. Scopes was convicted of the crime of teaching evolution. The Scopes trial was widely 
considered a Pyrrhic victory for antievolution campaigners, but the ensuing controversy largely kept evolution 
out of school textbooks for another thirty years. Only after the Sputnik scare of 1957 did scientists begin writing 
textbooks that presented evolution as the organizing principle of biology." (Scott, E.C., "Monkey Business," 
The Sciences, New York Academy of Sciences, January/February 1996, Vol. 36, No. 1; pp.20-25, p.21)

5/01/2006
"`Homology: Similarity in structure of an organ or a molecule, reflecting a common evolutionary origin....' This is 
the definition of homology in a contemporary textbook [Alberts B., et al., "Molecular Biology of the Cell," 
Third edition, 1994] But although the concept lies at the heart of much of biology, it has become increasingly 
elusive. Has it therefore become a word ripe for burning, as J. Maynard Smith (Univ. Sussex) remarked at a 
meeting [Homology, Novartis Foundation, London, 21-23 July 1998] on the topic? Or is it simply enough to know 
that homology exists - even though we cannot define it - as D. Wake (Univ. California, Berkeley) suggested in 
1994 in a review [Wake, D.B., Science, Vol 265, 1994, pp.268-269] of a book [Hall, B.K., ed., "Homology," 
1994] commemorating the 150th anniversary of Richard Owen's introduction of the term?" (Tautz, D., "Debatable 
homologies," Nature, Vol. 395, 3 September 1998, p.17)

5/01/2006
"Owen's original concept of homology did not have a phylogenetic (evolutionary) perspective. It was based on 
the philosophy of identifying and grouping similarities in nature, the 'scala naturae'. Such thinking was 
exemplified by Charles Bonnet, who, in 1764, derived the following similarity series: fish - flying fish - aquatic 
birds - birds - bats - flying squirrels - tetrapods - monkey -man (A. Panchen, Univ. Newcastle upon Tyne). It is 
one of the great achievements of applying the principle of homology that we can now confidently reject the idea 
that this series reflects phylogenetic succession. On the other hand, however, we still do not know the true 
answer on the phylogenetic descent of tetrapods, as homology concepts tend to fail when it comes to tracing 
evolutionary novelties." (Tautz, D., "Debatable homologies," Nature, Vol. 395, 3 September 1998, p.17)

5/01/2006
"Further challenges arise from molecular comparisons of developmental genes. The finding that highly 
conserved 'master regulator' genes such as Pax6/eyeless are involved in eye development in diverse 
phyla [Quiring, R., et al., Science, Vol. 265, 1994, pp.785-789] brings into question the idea of the 
independent evolution of eyes. Similarly, the expression of distal-less homologues in insect and 
vertebrate legs, as well as other body outgrowths [Panganiban, G. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA, 
Vol. 94, 1997, pp.5162-5166], raises the issue of how often appendages can arise independently." (Tautz, D., 
"Debatable homologies," Nature, Vol. 395, 3 September 1998, p.17)

5/01/2006
"Taking phylogenetic continuity alone as the prime criterion for homology causes the problem of circularity, 
because phylogenies are themselves deduced from homologous characters. This of course can be avoided by 
using a different set of characters for the phylogeny, such as those derived from DNA sequences. But even in 
well-established phylogenies, it often emerges that independent evolution of similar characters (convergence) 
must have often occurred. There could, therefore, be dormant genes or 'latent homologies' that are not expressed 
in a particular 'stem' species, but that have been regained after further speciation and give the erroneous 
impression of convergence (A. Meyer, Univ. Konstanz)." (Tautz, D., "Debatable homologies," Nature, 
Vol. 395, 3 September 1998, p.17)

5/01/2006
"Strict correspondence with phylogeny might also be less important if homologues are viewed as coherent units 
of phenotypic evolution with constraints on the developmental and variational properties (G. Wagner, Yale 
Univ.). Applying such criteria, Wagner proposed a beautiful solution to the old question of the way in which the 
digits on the limbs of the urodeles, the newts and salamanders, are homologous to those of the other tetrapods. 
In tetrapods, digits 3 and 4 are the first to develop and are also the ones that are most stable against 
perturbations. In the urodeles, the same seems to be the case for digits 1 and 2. So if 3 and 4 are homologous to 1 
and 2, digit 3 would be equivalent to digit 5 in tetrapods and digits 4 and 5 in the urodeles would be novel 
structures, albeit serially homologous to the other digits. Closer study of developmental characteristics and 
comparative analysis of Hox gene expression seem to confirm this view." (Tautz, D., "Debatable 
homologies," Nature, Vol. 395, 3 September 1998, p.17)

5/01/2006
"In molecular studies, the question of phylogenetic continuity becomes even more blurred. As genes can 
duplicate in the genome, it has long been clear that orthologous genes (which are related by phylogenetic 
common descent) have to be distinguished from paralogous genes that result from duplications within a genome. 
But if gene loss and re-duplications have to be taken into account, things become even more complex and new 
terminology may be required (P. Holland, Univ. Reading). Thus, sequence similarities alone are not sufficient to 
infer homology of structures and developmental processes. Instead, one should look for the conservation of 
whole regulatory networks (E. Abouheif, State Univ. New York), a concept that comes close to that of viewing 
homologues as coherent units." (Tautz, D., "Debatable homologies," Nature, Vol. 395, 3 September 1998, 
p.17)

5/01/2006
"But can we be sure that homologous morphological structures are made by homologous gene networks? For 
example, closely related species of sea urchin can develop directly into adults, or go through a feeding larva first, 
yet end up with the same adult body plan. These species show different embryonic cell lineages and differences 
in patterns of gene expression during early development (R. Raff, Indiana Univ.) ... . Intriguingly, however, the 
embryos of hybrids between such species develop partly in a composite and partly in radically new ways. 
Further study of these hybrids should help in understanding evolutionary dissociations of genotype and 
phenotype. It has often been hypothesized that changes in regulatory interactions are involved in dissociations 
of this sort, but practical work on the evolution of regulatory modules (enhancers) has been scarce. Again, 
research on sea urchins might pave the way forward. Their enhancers seem to consist of sub-elements, which 
can be combined and integrated in different ways [Yuh C. H., et al., Science, Vol. 279, 1998, 
pp.1896-1902], possibly making them perfect targets of evolutionary change (G. Wray, State Univ. New York). But 
could this mean that we eventually have to identify homologues in the individual parts of complex enhancers to 
understand the homology of morphological structures? This would indeed make the word ripe for burning." 
(Tautz, D., "Debatable homologies," Nature, Vol. 395, 3 September 1998, p.17)

5/01/2006
"Homology, then, is an idealized principle that works under idealized conditions, but such conditions almost 
never apply. This is reminiscent of the concept of the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in population genetics. It 
exists only under idealized conditions, but it is the tracing of the reasons for deviation from these conditions that 
is central to understanding the evolution of populations. Could one apply a similar thinking to homology?" 
(Tautz, D., "Debatable homologies," Nature, Vol. 395, 3 September 1998, p.17)

6/01/2006
"The same polls reporting that nearly hall of all Americans believe in the special creation of humankind also find 
that most of the other half accept theistic evolution. According to surveys conducted by the Gallup organization, 
only about one in ten Americans profess to believe in a Godless form of evolution, and even that number may 
overstate acceptance of the utterly blind, purposeless evolution espoused by Dawkins and company." (Larson, 
E.J., "Trial and Error: The American Controversy over Creation and Evolution," Oxford University Press: New 
York NY, 2003, pp.192-193)

7/01/2006
"Adult male baboons have been reported to risk their lives defending the rest of the troop against predators such 
as leopards. It is quite probable that any adult male has, on average, a fairly large number of genes tied up in 
other members of the troop. A gene that `says', in effect: `Body, if you happen to be an adult male, defend the 
troop against leopards', could become more numerous in the gene pool. Before leaving this often-quoted 
example, it is only fair to add that at least one respected authority has reported very different facts. According to 
her, adult males are the first over the horizon when a leopard appears." (Dawkins, R., "The Selfish Gene," [1976], 
Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1989, New edition, p.100-101)

7/01/2006
"Mistakes of this sort may, however, occasionally happen in nature. In species that live in herds or troops, an 
orphaned youngster may be adopted by a strange female, most probably one who has lost her own child. 
Monkeywatchers sometimes use the word `aunt' for an adopting female. In most cases there is no evidence that 
she really is an aunt, or indeed any kind of relative: if monkey-watchers were as gene-conscious as they might be, 
they would not use an important word like `aunt' so uncritically. In most cases we should probably regard 
adoption, however touching it may seem, as a misfiring of a built-in rule. This is because the generous female is 
doing her own genes no good by caring for the orphan. She is wasting time and energy which she could be 
investing in the lives of her own kin, particularly future children of her own. It is presumably a mistake that 
happens too seldom for natural selection to have `bothered' to change the rule by making the maternal instinct 
more selective." (Dawkins, R., "The Selfish Gene," [1976], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1989, New edition, 
p.100-101)

7/01/2006
"There is one example of a mistake which is so extreme that you may prefer to regard it not as a mistake at all, but 
as evidence against the selfish gene theory. This is the case of bereaved monkey mothers who have been seen to 
steal a baby from another female, and look after it. I see this as a double mistake, since the adopter not only 
wastes her own time; she also releases a rival female from the burden of child-rearing, and frees her to have 
another child more quickly. It seems to me a critical example which deserves some thorough research. We need to 
know how often it happens; what the average relatedness between adopter and child is likely to be; and what the 
attitude of the real mother of the child is-it is, after all, to her advantage that her child should be adopted; 
do mothers deliberately try to deceive naive young females into adopting their children? (It has also been 
suggested that adopters and baby-snatchers might benefit by gaining valuable practice in the art of child-
rearing.)" (Dawkins, R., "The Selfish Gene," [1976], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1989, New edition, p.101-
102. Emphasis original)

7/01/2006
"Consider human male homosexuality as a more serious example. On the face of it the existence of a substantial 
minority of men who prefer sexual relations with their own sex rather than with the opposite sex constitutes a 
problem for any simple Darwinian theory. The rather discursive title of a privately circulated homosexualist 
pamphlet, which the author was kind enough to send me, summarizes the problem: 'Why are there `gays' at all? 
Why hasn't evolution eliminated `gayness' millions of years ago?' The author incidentally thinks the problem so 
important that it seriously undermines the whole Darwinian view of life. Trivers (1974), Wilson (1975, 1978) and 
especially Weinrich (1976) have considered various versions of the possibility that homosexuals may, at some 
time in history, have been functionally equivalent to sterile workers, foregoing personal reproduction the better 
to care for other relatives. I do not find this idea particularly plausible (Ridley & Dawkins, 1981), certainly no more 
so than a 'sneaky males hypothesis According to this latter idea, homosexuality represents an `alternative male 
tactic' for obtaining matings with females. In a society with harem defence by dominant males, a male who is 
known to be homosexual is more likely to be tolerated by a dominant male than a known heterosexual male and an 
otherwise subordinate male may be able, by virtue of this, to obtain clandestine copulations with females. But I 
raise the 'sneaky male' hypothesis not as a plausible possibility so much as a stay of dramatizing how easy and 
inconclusive it is to dream up explanations of this kind ... Homosexuality is, of course, a problem for Darwinians 
only if there is a genetic component to the difference between homosexual and heterosexual individuals. While 
the evidence is controversial (Weinrich 1976) assume for the sake of argument that this is the case. Now the 
question arises, what does it mean to say there is a genetic component to the difference, in common parlance that 
there is a gene (or genes) 'for' homosexuality? It is a fundamental truism, of logic more than of genetics, that the 
phenotypic `effect' of a gene is a concept that has meaning only if the context of environmental influences is 
specified, environment being understood to include all the other genes in the genome. A gene 'for' A in 
environment X may well turn out to be a gene for B in environment Y. It is simply meaningless to speak of an 
absolute, context-free, phenotypic effect of a given gene. Even if there are genes which, in today's environment 
produce a homosexual phenotype, this does not mean that in another environment, say that of our Pleistocene 
ancestors, they would have had the same phenotypic effect. A gene for homosexuality in our modern 
environment might have been a gene for something utterly different in the Pleistocene. So, we have the 
possibility of a special kind of 'time-lag effect' here. It may be that the phenotype which we are trying to explain 
did not even exist in some earlier environment, even though the gene did then exist." (Dawkins, R., "The 
Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene," [1982], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1983, pp.37-38)

7/01/2006
"Lay critics frequently bring up some apparently maladaptive feature of modern human behaviour-adoption, say, 
or contraception-and fling down a challenge to `explain that if you can with your selfish genes'. Obviously, as 
Lewontin, Gould and others have rightly stressed, it would be possible, depending on one's ingenuity, to pull a 
`sociobiological' explanation out of a hat, a 'just-so story', but I agree with them and Cain that the answering of 
such challenges is a trivial exercise; indeed it is likely to be positively harmful. Adoption and contraception, like 
reading, mathematics, and stress-induced illness, are products of an animal that is living in an environment 
radically different from the one in which its genes were naturally selected. The question, about the adaptive 
significance of behaviour in an artificial world, should never have been put; and although a silly question may 
deserve a silly answer, it is wiser to give no answer at all and to explain why." (Dawkins, R., "The Extended 
Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene," [1982], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1983, p.36)

7/01/2006
"The jet engine superseded the propeller engine because, for most purposes it was superior. The designers of 
the first jet engine started with a clean drawing board. Imagine what they would have produced if they had been 
constrained to 'evolve' the first jet engine from an existing propeller engine changing one component at a time, 
nut by nut, screw by screw, rivet by rivet. A jet engine so assembled would be a weird contraption indeed. It is 
hard to imagine that an aeroplane designed in that evolutionary way should ever get off the ground. Yet in order 
to complete the biological analogy we have to add yet another constraint. Not only must the end product get off 
the ground; so must every intermediate along the way, and each intermediate must be superior to its predecessor. 
When looked at in this light far from expecting animals to be perfect we may wonder that anything about them 
works at all." (Dawkins, R., "The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene," [1982], Oxford University 
Press: Oxford UK, 1983, pp.38-39)

7/01/2006
"Examples of the Heath Robinson (or Rube Goldberg-Gould 1978) character of animals are harder to be confident 
of than the previous paragraph might lead us to expect. A favourite example, suggested to me by Professor J. D. 
Currey, is the recurrent laryngeal nerve. The shortest distance from the brain to the larynx in a mammal, especially 
a giraffe, is emphatically not via the posterior side of the aorta, yet that is the route taken by the recurrent 
laryngeal. Presumably there once was a time in the remote ancestry of the mammals when the straight line from 
origin to end organ of the nerve did run posterior to the aorta. When, in due course, the neck began to lengthen, 
the nerve lengthened its detour posterior to the aorta, but the marginal cost of each step in the lengthening of the 
detour was not great. A major mutation might have re-routed the nerve completely, but only at a cost of great 
upheaval in early embryonic processes. Perhaps a prophetic, God-like designer back in the Devonian could have 
foreseen the giraffe and designed the original embryonic routing of the nerve differently, but natural selection 
has no foresight. As Sydney Brenner has remarked, natural selection could not be expected to have favoured 
some useless mutation in the Cambrian simply because 'it might come in handy in the Cretaceous'." (Dawkins, R., 
"The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene," [1982], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1983, p.39)

7/01/2006
"The Picasso-like face of a Catfish such as a sole, grotesquely twisted to bring both eyes round to the same side 
of the head, is another striking demonstration of a historical constraint on perfection. The evolutionary history of 
these fish is so clearly written into their anatomy, that the example is a good one to thrust down the throats of 
religious fundamentalists. Much the same could be said of the curious fact that the retina of the vertebrate eye 
appears to be installed backwards. The lightsensitive 'photocells' are at the back of the retina, and light has to 
pass through the connecting circuitry, with some inevitable attenuation, before it reaches them. Presumably it 
would be possible to write down a very long sequence of mutations which would eventually lead to the 
production of an eye whose retina was 'the right way round' as it is in cephalopods, and this might be, in the end, 
slightly more efficient. But the cost in embryological upheaval would be so great that the intermediate stages 
would be heavily disfavoured by natural selection in comparison with the rival, patched-up job which does, after 
all, work pretty well. Pittendrigh (1958) has well said of adaptive organization that it is 'a patchwork of makeshifts 
pieced together, as it were, from what was available when opportunity knocked, and accepted in the hindsight, 
not the foresight, of natural selection' (see also Jacob, 1977, on 'tinkering') ." (Dawkins, R., "The Extended 
Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene," [1982], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1983, p.39)

7/01/2006
"Sewall Wright's (1932) metaphor, which has become known under the name of the 'adaptive landscape', conveys 
the same idea that selection in favour of local optima prevents evolution in the direction of ultimately superior, 
more global optima. His somewhat misunderstood (Wright 1980) emphasis on the role of genetic drift in allowing 
lineages to escape from the pull of local optima, and thereby attain a closer approximation to what a human might 
recognize as `the' optimal solution, contrasts interestingly with Lewontin's (1979b) invoking of drift as an 
`alternative to adaptation'. As in the case of pleiotropy, there is no paradox here. Lewontin is right that `the 
finiteness of real populations results in random changes in gene frequency so that, with a certain probability, 
genetic combinations with lower reproductive fitness will be fixed in a population'. But on the other hand it is also 
true that, to the extent that local optima constitute a limitation on the attainment of design perfection, drift will 
tend to provide an escape (Lande 1976). Ironically, then, a weakness in natural selection can theoretically 
enhance the likelihood of a lineage attaining optimal design! Because it has no foresight, unalloyed 
natural selection is in a sense an anti-perfection mechanism, hugging, as it will, the tops of the low foot-
hills of Wright's landscape. A mixture of strong selection interspersed with periods of relaxation of selection and 
drift may be the formula for crossing the valleys to the high uplands. Clearly if `adaptationism' is to become an 
issue where debating points are scored, there is scope for both sides to have it both ways! (Dawkins, R., "The 
Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene," [1982], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1983, pp.39-40. 
Emphasis original)

7/01/2006
"My own feeling is that somewhere here may lie the solution to the real paradox of this section on historical 
constraints. The jet engine analogy suggested that animals ought to be risible monstrosities of lashed-up 
improvisation, top-heavy with grotesque relics of patched-over antiquity. How can we reconcile this reasonable 
expectation with the formidable grace of the hunting cheetah, the aerodynamic beauty of the swift, the 
scrupulous attention to deceptive detail of the leaf insect? Even more impressive is the detailed agreement 
between different convergent solutions to common problems, for instance the multiple parallels that exist 
between the mammal radiations of Australia, South America and the Old World. Cain (1964) remarks that, `Up to 
now it has usually been assumed, by Darwin and others, that convergence will never be so good as to mislead 
us' but he goes on to give examples where competent taxonomists have been fooled. More and more groups 
which had hitherto been regarded as decently monophyletic, are now being suspected of polyphyletic origin."
(Dawkins, R., "The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene," [1982], Oxford University Press: Oxford 
UK, 1983, reprint, p.40)

8/01/2006
"The Adoption Paradox. Raising someone else's child seems to make no sense from an evolutionary standpoint. 
So why is everyone doing it? ... Perched on my computer as I pretend to write is a snapshot of my grandfather at 
87, perched at the edge of his .. bed. Standing on the bed ... is ... my daughter at age 1 1/2. We have brought her 
south to amuse and comfort Harry as he battles prostate cancer. Although there is no photo of Charles Darwin 
on my desk, I imagine him gazing down from somewhere and with befuddlement on this first photo. For my 
grandfather, like me, is plainly Caucasian, while my daughter is exquisitely Chinese. Why, Darwin might wonder, 
is this old man, contemplating at point-blank range his own extinction, comforted by the knowledge that his only 
grandson's only child is not of his own blood but adopted- a cuckoo in the nest?" (Eisenberg, E., "The Adoption 
Paradox," Discover, Vol. 22 No. 1, January 2001)

8/01/2006
"From a Darwinian standpoint, going childless by choice is hard enough to explain, but adoption, as the arch-
Darwinist Richard Dawkins notes, is a double whammy. Not only do you reduce, or at least fail to increase, your 
own reproductive success, but you improve someone else's. Since the birth parent is your rival in the great 
genetic steeplechase, a gene that encourages adoption should be knocked out of the running in fairly short 
order. It hasn't been." (Eisenberg, E., "The Adoption Paradox," Discover, Vol. 22 No. 1, January 
2001)

8/01/2006
"Of course, Americans at the turn of the millennium do all sorts of strange things. We have strayed so far from 
the `ancestral environment,' as the evolutionary psychologists say, that one has to poke through layers of 
cultural and technological debris to find the logic of the genes. But a survey of human time and space finds many 
other cultures in which adoption has been common. In some of them, it has been far more common than it is with 
us. And extending the survey to the rest of the animal kingdom finds adoption, or something like it, practiced by 
an astonishing array of creatures, from orangutans to hermaphroditic worms." (Eisenberg, E., "The Adoption 
Paradox," Discover, Vol. 22 No. 1, January 2001)

8/01/2006
"For me, the fact that most confounds evolutionary psychology is to be found not in Rangiroa or the Serengeti 
but in my heart. It is the deep happiness I feel whenever I see, hear, touch, or think about my daughter, which is a 
good deal of my waking life. Perhaps my emotional range is limited, but I can't imagine loving my `own' child 
more. Nor am I odd in this regard. Studies show that adoptive parents are, on average, as happy as genetic 
parents, perhaps even a little happier. Their failure to fulfill the most basic biological imperative, far from turning 
them into freaks, seems to leave them slightly less prone to mental illness than most parents. This is not a fact 
that Darwinism, in any of its forms, would have predicted." (Eisenberg, E., "The Adoption Paradox," 
Discover, Vol. 22 No. 1, January 2001)

8/01/2006
"I found Freda in the recovery room .... She had not yet seen the surgeon, not yet been told that she had cancer 
and that her ovaries and uterus had been removed. ... Suddenly (or so it felt), in the 12th year of our marriage, 
Freda handed down an ultimatum. If I wanted kids, it was time to get moving. If I didn't, it was time to let her know 
so she could come to terms with her childless life- now redefined, in mediaspeak, as "child free." I came back from 
the library the next day with a cribful of books about surrogacy and adoption. Absorbed over the next few days, 
they did little to lighten the burden of decision. What did lighten the burden- what made it, on the instant, drop 
away- was the annual conference of the Open Door Society. Here, instead of hapless couples salving the wound 
of infertility with the semblance of a family, I found thousands of happy families, normal in every way but two: 
They seemed happier than most, and more polychrome. In workshop after workshop I heard parents attest, with 
wonder still fresh, that their adopted child seemed meant for them from the start, and that they could not imagine 
loving a "biological" child more. And when, at the workshop on adopting from China, I saw a half dozen dark-
eyed infants and toddlers sporting on their parents' knees, I felt a silken cord binding itself to my heart." 
(Eisenberg, E., "The Adoption Paradox," Discover, Vol. 22 No. 1, January 2001)

8/01/2006
"Motives for adopting may be as various as the people and animals that adopt. Among mammals, adoption has 
been reported in mice and rats, otters and skunks, llamas, deer and caribou, kangaroos and wallabies, seals and 
sea lions, as well as domestic animals such as dogs, pigs, goats, and sheep. Primates seem especially prone to 
adopt, as do carnivores of all sorts. A study of the largest terrestrial meat eater, the Alaskan brown bear, found 
foreign cubs in three of 104 litters, a percentage in the same ballpark as among North American humans. The 
habit can be expensive. If the adoptee is added to an existing litter, the adopter's own offspring may get less to 
eat. If adopting delays the next brood, the adopter's lifetime reproductive success may be reduced. Even for the 
infertile, adoption seems maladaptive: It siphons off resources that might otherwise be shared with close relatives 
who share some fraction of their genes, thus reducing their `inclusive fitness.'" (Eisenberg, E., "The Adoption 
Paradox," Discover, Vol. 22 No. 1, January 2001)

8/01/2006
"As evolutionists are quick to point out, the logic of kinship cuts both ways: Animals often adopt their own 
relatives. Indeed, one locus classicus of adoption among mammals is a small, closely related band that hunts or 
forages cooperatively in a harsh or dicey environment. Here adoption is just the far end of a range of 
`alloparenting' behaviors that may include fostering, baby-sitting, cr ching (a sort of day-care arrangement), and 
communal feeding. ... As biologists apply new genetic tools to the study of adoption, kinship does not provide 
the catchall answer that many thought it would. A female harbor seal, for example, who loses track of her pup on 
her crowded breeding ground will often adopt a foreign pup, whether motherless or not. Though these seals 
seem unable to tell kin from nonkin, scientists guessed that a female would tend to breed on the same stretch of 
beach where she had been bred; the resulting clustering of kin would mean that a female who adopted a nearby 
pup was likely to be adopting a relative, perhaps increasing her inclusive fitness. But DNA analysis of a colony 
on Sable Island in Canada shot down both those suppositions." (Eisenberg, E., "The Adoption Paradox," 
Discover, Vol. 22 No. 1, January 2001)

8/01/2006
"When all else fails, Darwinians can chalk adoption up to reproductive error- the failure of parents to distinguish 
their own offspring from someone else's. The pandemonium of an elephant seal breeding ground, for instance, 
with hundreds of creatures the size of small trucks bellowing for their pups, is guaranteed to cause some mix-ups, 
even though the cost to the mothers can be great. Some end up trying to raise two pups, a feat that verges on the 
physically impossible. Of course, the idea of reproductive error doesn't help much with cases of adoption by a 
nonbreeding female. If you have no infant of your own, you can hardly be accused of confusing it with someone 
else's." (Eisenberg, E., "The Adoption Paradox," Discover, Vol. 22 No. 1, January 2001)

8/01/2006
"Readings in terms of natural selection are trickier. Anthropologist Joan Silk, in a statistical analysis of the data- 
first from Oceania, then from the Arctic and West Africa, two other hotbeds of fosterage and adoption-found 
that adopters and adoptees tended to be blood-related more closely than chance alone would predict. But since 
adoption of nonrelatives does occur in these and many other societies, inclusive fitness offers at best a partial 
answer." (Eisenberg, E., "The Adoption Paradox," Discover, Vol. 22 No. 1, January 2001)

8/01/2006
"If something in human nature makes us prone to adopt, it may be something we share with other primates. 
Spider monkeys, tarsiers, baboons, gibbons, chimpanzees, and orangutans have been caught in the act, and most 
other primates engage in alloparental care of one kind or another. As among humans, babies are fussed over. In 
some species, mothers with one infant will take in another, despite the considerable strain involved in feeding, 
carrying, and protecting both. Juveniles, nonbreeding adults, and mothers who have lost their own infants will 
sometimes be so keen to nurture that, if an orphan is not available, they will resort to kidnapping- which, if the 
birth mother is of lower rank or for some other reason fails to put up much of a fight, can lead to permanent 
adoption. ... In any case, adoption among primates can't be chalked up to `reproductive error'- not in any literal 
sense. Like human adopters, these apes and monkeys seem to know what they are doing." (Eisenberg, E., "The 
Adoption Paradox," Discover, Vol. 22 No. 1, January 2001)

8/01/2006
"When the ethnographic files have been ransacked and the animal taxa accounted for, the hardest kind of 
adoption to explain in standard evolutionary terms may be the human, Western, modern kind- the kind my wife 
and I have committed. Finding a mate, warding off aggression, getting better access to resources-these may be 
true Darwinian explanations of adoption in some animal species, but in Homo sapiens they are more likely 
to be acting, if at all, on the level of learned behavior. And indeed it isn't hard to see how adoption might be 
encouraged by a given culture, or spread through a population as a learned behavior, or `meme.' Nor is it hard to 
see how adoption might be favored by "group selection"- to put it crudely, survival of the fittest populations, 
not just of the fittest individuals within populations. That form of Darwinism, which Darwin himself invoked to 
explain various kinds of altruism, became taboo in the 1960s but is now making a comeback, refined to meet 
logical and mathematical objections." (Eisenberg, E., "The Adoption Paradox," Discover, Vol. 22 No. 
1, January 2001)

8/01/2006
"But for the kind of Darwinism that rules the new field of evolutionary psychology, as well as the popular press- 
the kind that delights in finding the bony grimace of selfishness beneath the fleshy lips of goodness- only one 
theory of modern adoption is of much use: namely, that the urge to nurture has been selected for because it is, in 
general, hugely adaptive; and that, in the world of early humans, the likelihood that someone would squander 
this urge on a nonrelated child was so remote that natural selection didn't bother taking measures against it. One 
biologist compares this to the human love of salt, an instinct healthy on the African savanna but less so in a 7-
Eleven. No father likes to think of his daughter (however addictive) in the same way as junk food, so naturally I'm 
inclined to poke holes in this theory. For instance, why shouldn't a strategy of reproductive parasitism- of 
leaving your infants at the door of an unrelated family's cave- have arisen among early humans? In that case, an 
instinct for rejecting all unrelated infants should have evolved too. And even if a frustrated parenting urge 
explains our behavior, what about that of my relatives, who have already had their quota of children? Why have 
my grandparents not only lavished as much great- grandparental investment on this alien dumpling as on their 
genetic descendants but also bragged about her even more? How can it be that the whole family- uncles, aunts, 
cousins- far from begrudging her a place in the nest, have made her their darling, dropping their sleekest worms 
into her heart-shaped mouth? I don't know the answer. Maybe the parenting urge doesn't have to be dammed to 
rise above its biological bed. After all, people who already have genetic children adopt too. Or maybe something 
else is going on here, something evolutionary psychology cannot yet explain." (Eisenberg, E., "The Adoption 
Paradox," Discover, Vol. 22 No. 1, January 2001)

8/01/2006
"Once we had adopted, it was easy to forget how the prospect of taking my genes to the grave had unsettled me. 
If the latex-gloved hand of modern medicine had reached out to us, wouldn't we have clutched it? Which brings 
us to the oldest of biological questions, that of the chicken and the egg. Is modern medicine responding to a 
natural, Darwinian demand? Or is it drumming up business, aided by the drug companies' ostinato and our 
culture's insistence that adoption is unnatural- a fatherhood of last resort, a motherhood of necessity? The 
tendency of pop Darwinism- which, in one form or another, has been shaping American culture for well over a 
century- is to look at what we want, explain it in terms of what our genes want, and then suggest that what our 
genes want is what we really want. Our genes' hidden agenda-namely, their own proliferation in human bodies, 
from here to eternity- is supposed to be our agenda. If it is fulfilled, we are fulfilled; if it is not, we are not. This is 
like saying that our felicity lies in achieving a state of entropy or heat death, which seems to be the agenda of the 
subatomic particles that must, in the last and rather tedious analysis, set in motion all our desires." (Eisenberg, E., 
"The Adoption Paradox," Discover, Vol. 22 No. 1, January 2001)

8/01/2006
"Adoption discloses a few of the myriad ways in which both evolution and culture soften, extend, and reticulate 
our rock-bottom interest in reproductive success. Rather than see these wrinkles as errors or perversions or 
mystifications, we should celebrate them. For without them love, art, science, and morality would not exist. .... In 
many animals, including humans, the drive we expect to be most deeply ingrained- the drive to reproduce- turns 
out to require little in the way of direct satisfaction. Most of us need sex, most of us need to raise a child, but the 
two don't have to be related. As a result, neither does the child. One half of the above disjunction- that sex is 
worth having even when it doesn't produce children- has always been obvious. But the other half-that children 
are worth having even if your own sex act hasn't produced them-has yet to sink in. Standing on the child side of 
the divide, society tells us the connection is sacred. It tells us this is what we really want. It tells us anything else 
is second best. And it makes adoption absurdly difficult." (Eisenberg, E., "The Adoption Paradox," 
Discover, Vol. 22 No. 1, January 2001)

8/01/2006
"The cuckoo and the cowbird are despised in human lore for laying eggs in the nests of other species. But many 
birds do this to members of their own species. In one population of bluebirds, for instance, it was found that 15 
percent of the mothers were tending an unrelated nestling. Such egg dumping explains the fierce catfights 
between bluebird females. Cliff swallows in the American West go one better: Besides egg dumping, they 
airfreight prelaid eggs into neighbors' nests. The neighbor, if she notices, may not protest, since she has 
probably done the same thing herself. In the largest colonies, 22 to 43 percent of the nests harbor an alien egg. 
The practice may work to everyone's benefit: As cliff swallow nests are subject to rock slides, bad weather, and 
other catastrophes, it is unwise to keep all one's eggs in one basket." (Eisenberg, E., "The Adoption 
Paradox," Discover, Vol. 22 No. 1, January 2001)

8/01/2006
"Eggs cannot offer themselves for adoption, but chicks can and do in many bird species, especially those that 
breed in tightly packed colonies. If a white stork chick finds itself in an overcrowded nest, it may wander to a 
neighboring nest with fewer and younger chicks. Though chicks and parents will try to repel it, persistence pays: 
A study of three white stork colonies found that four out of 10 nests contained an adoptee. The runaways are 
fed better than they were before, but at some cost to their new nest mates. Similarly, ring-billed gull pairs that take 
in a foundling will, on average, fledge fewer chicks of their own than pairs that don't. Why do they, then? 
Biologists speak of an `intergenerational conflict' or `coevolutionary arms race' betweegate-crashing 
youngsters and the unrelated, gatekeehe youngsters win, sometimes the oldsters. The 
proportions may depend on who has the most to gain or lose- that is, on the selection pressure on each side." 
(Eisenberg, E., "The Adoption Paradox," Discover, Vol. 22 No. 1, January 2001)

8/01/2006
"Bluebirds who have to put food in their chicks' gaping mouths may work at four times their basal metabolic rate- 
roughly equivalent to a human chopping wood night and day. Ducks and geese, whose chicks start foraging 
shortly after hatching, pay far less for an extra beak. Adoption is often reported in these species, and not only by 
Hans Christian Andersen. Creatures most prone to adopt don't always have a soft spot for infants. A mother 
herring gull that happens on another gull's chick will happily take it home and eat it. But sometimes, if the chick is 
still alive when the gull reaches the nest, she apparently will start feeding it, that is, adopt it. Biologists, who do 
not readily ascribe compassion to any creature- least of all to a shrill-voiced cannibal- seem inclined to think that 
such a gull has had a senior moment. Finding herself with a live chick in her beak, she can't recollect whether she 
is bringing home takeout or collaring an errant offspring. Rather than chance eating her own chick, she takes the 
risk of raising someone else's." (Eisenberg, E., "The Adoption Paradox," Discover, Vol. 22 No. 1, 
January 2001)

8/01/2006
"It Adoption is far from rare among mammals and birds, but among fish one could call it common. Paradoxically, 
the two very different evolutionary game plans favored by these two groups can both make adoption a good 
move. Mammals and birds produce a handful of offspring in which they invest heavily, mainly by feeding them. 
Fish take a more actuarial approach, laying eggs in vast quantities and trusting that some of them will survive. 
Once you are guarding a flock of fry, adding a few fry from another fish's brood won't cost you much effort. It 
may even offer a payoff. If other fry are mixed in with your own, the chances that a predator will catch one of 
yours is correspondingly reduced: This is called the dilution effect. Your slight statistical edge may be sharpened 
by the confusion effect, whereby a hungry fish, dazzled by the sheer number of fry flying every which way, loses 
precious seconds deciding which to go after. If the adopted fry are smaller than your own, predators may seize 
on these easy pickings first. That is called the selfish shepherd effect. Finally, in some cases adopted fry may be 
placed on the edges of the brood, forming an edible buffer against marauders. That is called the selfish herd 
effect. With this arsenal of effects, most of them confirmed to some degree by observation and experiment, 
Darwinists can make adoption seem less fishy, its low cost outweighed by palpable benefits." (Eisenberg, E., 
"The Adoption Paradox," Discover, Vol. 22 No. 1, January 2001)

9/01/2006
"Adoption. Although allomaternal care is widespread in the primates, only under special circumstances does it 
lead to the full adoption of strange infants. In particular, mothers who are nursing young of their own (and are 
therefore best able to rear orphans) are typically hostile to strange infants who try to approach them. A possible 
exception is provided by the langur Presbytis johnii. Lactating females were seen by Poirier (1968) to 
respond permissively toward other infants. When more than one infant struggled to gain access to a nipple, 
mothers showed no preference for their own young. Even in species with aggressive females, orphans are 
probably rarely left to starve. Female macaques who have lost their own babies readily accept other infants, and 
they may even go so far as to kidnap them (Itani, 1959; Rowell, 1963). Since mothers are more likely to lose their 
infants than the reverse, it is probable that orphans will find a willing foster mother. Even if none is available, 
other females might be able to assume the role fully. When caged rhesus females were induced to adopt infants 
under experimental conditions, they began to produce apparently normal milk (Hansen, 1966). The foster mothers 
observed in captive groups of rhesus monkeys usually served first as helpers. This circumstance makes it more 
likely that in nature a relative will adopt an orphaned infant. Van Lawick-Goodall (1968a) recorded three instances 
of adoption in wild chimpanzees of the Gombe Stream National Park, two by older juvenile sisters and one by an 
older brother. Similarly, foster mothers observed by Sade (1965) in the feral rhesus population of Cayo Santiago 
were older sisters." (Wilson, E.O., "Sociobiology: The Abridged Edition," [1975], The Belknap Press: Cambridge 
MA, 1980, p.175)

9/01/2006
"If we wish, we can define a single gene as a sequence of nucleotide letters lying between a START and an END 
symbol, and coding for one protein chain. The word cistron has been used for a unit defined in this way, and 
some people use the word gene interchangeably with cistron. ... In the title of this book the word gene means not 
a single cistron but something more subtle. My definition will not be to everyone's taste, but there is no 
universally agreed definition of a gene. Even if there were, there is nothing sacred about definitions. We can 
define a word how we like for our own purposes, provided we do so clearly and unambiguously. The definition I 
want to use comes from G.C. Williams. A gene is defined as any portion of chromosomal material that potentially 
lasts for enough generations to serve as a unit of natural selection." (Dawkins, R., "The Selfish Gene," [1976], 
Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, New Edition, 1989, p.28)

10/01/2006
"Almost all the participants in these disputes take it for granted that the factual claims of creation and 
resurrection at the root of Christianity are untrue." (Brown, A., "The Darwin Wars: How Stupid Genes Became 
Selfish Gods," Simon & Schuster: London, 1999, p.154)

10/01/2006
"Intelligent design ... is not an argument from ignorance. Precisely because of what we know about undirected 
natural causes and their limitations, science is now in a position to demonstrate design rigorously ... " (Dembski, 
W.A.*, "Introduction: Mere Creation," in Dembski, W.A.*, ed., "Mere Creation: Science, Faith & Intelligent 
Design," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1998, p.17)

10/01/2006
"An Argument from Ignorance? Against all that has been said, many have maintained that this argument from 
information content to design constitutes nothing more than an argument from ignorance. Since we don't yet 
know how biological information could have arisen we invoke the mysterious notion of intelligent design. Thus, 
say objectors, intelligent design functions not as a legitimate inference or explanation but as a kind of place 
holder for ignorance. And yet, as Dembski has demonstrated (Dembski 1998, 9-35, 62-66) we often infer the causal 
activity of intelligent agents as the best explanation for events and phenomena. Moreover, we do so rationally, 
according to objectifiable, if often tacit, information and complexity theoretic criteria. His examples of design 
inferences from archeology and cryptography to fraud detection and criminal forensics-show that we make 
design inferences all the time, often for a very good reason (Dembski 1998, 9-35). Intelligent agents have unique 
causal powers that nature does not. When we observe effects that we know only agents can produce, we rightly 
infer the antecedent presence of a prior intelligence even if we did not observe the action of the particular agent 
responsible. In other words, Dembski has shown that designed events leave a complexity and information-
theoretic signature that allows us to detect intelligent design reliably. Specifically, when systems or artifacts have 
a high information content or (in his terminology) are both highly improbable and specified, intelligent design 
necessarily played a causal role in the origin of the system in question." (Meyer, S.C.*, "The Explanatory Power 
of Design: DNA and the Origin of Information," in Dembski, W.A.*, ed., "Mere Creation: Science, Faith & 
Intelligent Design," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1998, p.138)

10/01/2006
"While admittedly the design inference constitutes a provisional, empiricallybased conclusion and not a proof 
(science can provide nothing more), it most emphatically does not constitute an argument from ignorance. 
Instead, the design inference from biological information constitutes an `inference to the best explanation.' 
Recent work on the method of `inference to the best explanation' (Lipton 1991; Meyer 1994b, 88-94) suggests that 
determining which among a set of competing possible explanations constitutes the best depends upon 
assessments of the causal powers of competing explanatory entities. Causes that have the capability to produce 
the evidence in question constitute better explanations of that evidence than those that do not." (Meyer, S.C.*, 
"The Explanatory Power of Design: DNA and the Origin of Information," in Dembski, W.A.*, ed., "Mere Creation: 
Science, Faith & Intelligent Design," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1998, pp.138-139)

12/01/2006
"Influenced by Malthus and by the social philosophy of his time, Darwin emphasized the negative aspect of 
biotic interaction. He painted a picture of species aiming at mutual destruction in their struggle for life. Misled by 
the Malthusian implication of the finite area on the surface of the Earth, Darwin (1859, p. 67) compared it to `a 
yielding surface, with ten thousand sharp wedges packed close together and driven inwards by incessant blows, 
sometimes one wedge being struck, and then another with greater force,' forcing out a previously struck wedge. 
`The boat is full,' as the Swiss said in justifying the closure of their borders to refugees during World War II. But 
the boat is not full. Darwin's younger contemporary, Peter Alexander Kropotkin, advocated the opposite view of 
mutual aid and symbiosis in evolution. Darwin's view of killing the competition reflected the philosophy of his 
time. The motto of our age is peaceful coexistence and symbiosis. Niklas (1986) pointed out that increase of 
species could be absorbed through a `partition of ecologic niches.' In the evolution of fossil communities, we see 
a picture of interdependence of plants, insects, and terrestrial animals. This evolutionary pattern indicates the 
constructive aspect in the history of life. The Earth was probably made inhabitable through the effort of 
anaerobic bacteria that gave us oxygen in the atmosphere. New groups evolved, but they did not always ride 
over the dead bodies of the old. They ventured out and created new ecologic niches for themselves and for 
others as well (Lovelock, 1980)." (Hsu, K.J., "Darwin's three mistakes," Geology, 1986, Vol. 14, pp.533-534)

12/01/2006
"Two aspects of animal life impressed me most during the journeys which I made in my youth in Eastern Siberia 
and Northern Manchuria. One of them was the extreme severity of the struggle for existence which most species 
of animals have to carry on against an inclement Nature; the enormous destruction of life which periodically 
results from natural agencies; and the consequent paucity of life over the vast territory which fell under my 
observations. And the other was, that even in those few spots where animal life teemed in abundance, I failed to 
find -although I was eagerly looking for it-that bitter struggle for the means of existence, among animals 
belonging to the same species, which was considered by most Darwinists (though not always by Darwin himself) 
as the dominant characteristic of struggle for life, and the main factor of evolution. ... I conceived since then 
serious doubts-which subsequent study has only confirmed-as to the reality of that fearful competition for food 
and life within each species, which was an article of faith with most Darwinists, and, consequently, as to the 
dominant part which this sort of competition was supposed to play in the evolution of new species. On the other 
hand, wherever I saw animal life in abundance ... I saw Mutual Aid and Mutual Support carried on to an extent 
which made me suspect in it a feature of the greatest importance for the maintenance of life, the preservation of 
each species, and its further evolution." (Kropotkin, P., "Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution," [1902], Freedom 
Press: London, 1987, pp.12-14)

13/01/2006
"The fallacy of appeal to ignorance [The Latin name of this fallacy is argumentum ad ignorantiam] 
is an argument that uses an opponent's inability to disprove a conclusion as proof of the conclusion's 
correctness. By shifting the burden of proof outside the argument onto the person hearing the argument, such an 
argument becomes irrelevant. One's inability to disprove a conclusion cannot by itself be regarded as proof that 
the conclusion is true." (Engel, S.M., "With Good Reason: An Introduction to Informal Fallacies," St. Martin's 
Press: New York, Fourth Edition, 1990, p.214)

13/01/2006
"When we consider Behe's criticisms in light of this consistent pattern, his book becomes particularly significant 
in that it indicates just how far creationists have had to retreat to find significant explanatory gaps in 
evolutionary theory. Behe is certainly correct that molecular biology has identified a host of new and heretofore 
unappreciated puzzles for evolutionary biologists. That they have yet to solve, or in many cases even to begin to 
address these puzzles, however, is mostly the unsurprising result of the fact that molecular biology is still a very 
new subdiscipline. Many of the most significant molecular techniques that are now allowing biologists to look 
inside the black box of the cell were developed just in the last decade or two. The opening of this final box has 
indeed revealed a new level of complexity that has yet to be explained. But what should we conclude from our 
ignorance about such matters? Should we applaud and encourage the new generation of graduate students in 
molecular biology who are now eagerly turning their attention to investigating, and perhaps discovering the 
solutions of these puzzles? Or should we, as Behe and other creationists suggest, judge that these explanatory 
gaps are uncrossable by evolutionary or any natural theory and conclude that intervention by a divine intelligent 
designer is the only possible explanation? We will return to a further examination of supernatural explanation and 
the creationists' proposed inference to intelligent design in chapter 5, but here I hope the conclusion to draw is 
obvious. All the creationists' challenges that "Science cannot explain X" are nothing but what philosophers call 
"arguments from ignorance." To point out that we are ignorant of the scientific explanation of X is hardly good 
reason to conclude that God is the explanation." (Pennock, R.T., "Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New 
Creationism," MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1999, Fourth printing, pp.171-172)

14/01/2006
"In attributing design to biological systems, isn't intelligent design just arguing from ignorance? THIS IS 
PERHAPS THE MOST COMMON OBJECTION against intelligent design, and it goes by many names: argument 
from ignorance, argument from silence, argument from personal incredulity, god-of-the-gaps, negative 
argumentation, argument by elimination, eliminative induction, failure to provide a positive alternative and so on. 
The underlying concern here is that design theorists argue for the truth of design simply because design has not 
been shown to be false. In arguments from ignorance, the lack of evidence against a proposition is used to argue 
for its truth. Here's a stereotypical argument from ignorance: "Ghosts and goblins exist because you haven't 
shown me that they don't exist." The argument-from-ignorance objection has been spectacularly successful at 
shutting down discussion about intelligent design. In fact, among Western intellectuals it functions like a mantra. 
One merely repeats it whenever the question of design is raised. ... And thus design is refuted. Perhaps that's 
why Australian philosopher Alan Olding, in commenting on the persistent use of the argument-from ignorance or 
god-of-the-gaps objection against the work of Michael Denton and Michael Behe, writes, "The phrase 'god of 
the gaps' is nothing more than a question-begging insult meant to stop the flow of argument before it has barely 
started." (See his article "Maker of Heaven and Microbiology," Quadrant, January-February 2000.)" 
(Dembski, W.A.*, "The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions About Intelligent Design," 
Intervarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 2004, pp.213-214. Emphasis original)

14/01/2006
"The upshot is that DNA exhibits too much `design work' (as Cairns-Smith puts it) to be the product of mere 
chance, yet there are no known physical laws capable of doing the necessary work. Once we apply the tools of 
information theory, all the plausible candidates fall out of the race. No known physical laws produce the right 
kind of ordered structure: one with high information content. This is not a statement about our ignorance-a `gap' 
in knowledge that one might be tempted to bridge with an appeal to the supernatural. Rather, it is a statement 
about what we know-about the consistent character of natural laws. ... We also know, from information theory, 
how codes work. ... If we consult everyday experience, we readily note that objects with a high information 
content-books, computer disks, musical scores-are products of intelligence. It is reasonable to conclude, by 
analogy, that the DNA molecule is likewise the product of an intelligent agent. This is a contemporary version of 
the design argument, and it does not rest on ignorance-on gaps in knowledge-but on the explosive 
growth in knowledge thanks to the revolution in molecular biology and the development of information 
theory. " (Pearcey N.R.*, "DNA: The Message in the Message," First Things 64, June/July 1996, pp.13-
14. Leadership U., 9 January 1997. Emphasis original. ).

14/01/2006
"Nevertheless, it is routine among Darwinists to declare that Behe's ideas have been decisively refuted and even 
to provide references to the biological literature in which Behe's ideas are supposed to have been refuted. But 
what happens when one tracks down those references in the biological literature that are said to have refuted 
Behe? David Ray Griffin, a philosopher with no animus against Darwinism or sympathy for Behe's intelligent 
design perspective, remarks: `The response I have received from repeating Behe's claim [that the evolutionary 
literature fails to account for irreducible complexity] is that I obviously have not read the right books. There are, I 
am assured, evolutionists who have described how the transitions in question could have occurred [i.e., how, 
contra Behe, Darwinian pathways could lead to irreducibly complex biochemical systems]. When I ask in which 
books I can find these discussions, however, I either get no answer or else some titles that, upon examination, do 
not in fact contain the promised accounts. That such accounts exist seems to be something that is widely known, 
but I have yet to encounter someone who knows where they exist.' [Griffin D.R., "Religion and Scientific 
Naturalism: Overcoming the Conflicts," State University of New York Press: Albany NY, 2000, p.287, n.23]" 
(Dembski, W.A.*, ed., "Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing," ISI Books: 
Wilmington DE, 2004, p.xxvi)

14/01/2006
"David Ray Griffin, also no supporter of intelligent design, is a philosopher of religion with an interest in 
biological origins. Commenting on the evolutionary literature that purports to explain how evolutionary 
transitions lead to increased biological complexity, he writes (in his book Religion and Scientific Naturalism), 
`There are, I am assured, evolutionists who have described how the transitions in question could have occurred. 
When I ask in which books I can find these discussions, however, I either get no answer or else some titles that, 
upon examination, do not in fact contain the promised accounts. That such accounts exist seems to be something 
that is widely known, but I have yet to encounter someone who knows where they exist.' [Griffin D.R., "Religion 
and Scientific Naturalism: Overcoming the Conflicts," State University of New York Press: Albany NY, 2000, 
p.287, n.23]" (Dembski, W.A.*, "The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions About Intelligent 
Design," Intervarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 2004, p.215)

14/01/2006
"Indeed, the whole point of Michael Behe's irreducible complexity and my own specified complexity is that these 
are empirical features of mundane objects that reliably signal intelligent causation. Whether these 
mundane objects trace their causal histories through mundane or transcendent designers is irrelevant. When we 
see irreducible complexity or specified complexity, we know that an intelligent cause has been present and acted 
even if we know nothing else. This is not an argument from ignorance. Behe and I offer in-principle arguments for 
why undirected natural causes (i.e., chance, necessity or some combination of the two) cannot produce 
irreducible and specified complexity. Moreover we offer sound arguments for why intelligent causation best 
explains irreducible and specified complexity. " (Dembski, W.A.*, "Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between 
Science and Theology," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL., 1999, pp.276-277. Emphasis original)

14/01/2006
"Intelligent design is the systematic study of intelligent causes and specifically of the effects they leave behind. 
From certain observable features of the world (i.e., signs), intelligent design infers to intelligent causes 
responsible for those features. The world contains events, objects and structures that exhaust the explanatory 
resources of natural causes and that can be adequately explained only by recourse to intelligent causes. This is 
not an argument from ignorance. Precisely because of what we know about natural causes and their limitations, 
science is now in a position to demonstrate intelligent causation rigorously. Briefly, intelligent design infers that 
an intelligent cause is responsible for an effect if the effect is both complex and specified." (Dembski, W.A.*, 
"Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology", InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1999, 
p.47)

14/01/2006
"Next Scott and Branch bring up the old chestnut about ID amounting to an `argument from ignorance,' relying 
upon `a lack of knowledge for its conclusion: Lacking a natural explanation, we assume intelligent cause.' 
Comment: Lacking a natural explanation of Mount Rushmore, are we making an argument from ignorance by 
inferring that an intelligent cause is behind it? The design inference is not an argument from ignorance. It's not 
just that we eliminate natural explanations (by which biologists mean explanations that involve no intelligent 
causation), but that in eliminating natural explanations we find features that in our experience are only the result 
of intelligent causation. Consider, for instance, the bacterial flagellum. This is a little outboard rotary motor on the 
backs of certain bacteria. It includes a propeller, a hook joint, a drive shaft, O-rings, a stator, and a bidirectional 
acid powered motor. We are seeing here a machine of the sort that in our experience only intelligence can 
produce. What's more, the biological community has come up empty on how systems like this could emerge apart 
from intelligence. This is not an argument from ignorance. This is an argument from what we know about the 
causal powers of intelligence and the shortfall of unintelligent causes." (Dembski, W.A.*, "Commentary on 
Eugenie Scott and Glenn Branch's `Guest Viewpoint: "Intelligent design" Not Accepted by Most 
Scientists,'" ISCID, 2 July, 2002)

14/01/2006
"More generally, I like to apply a somewhat cynical rule of thumb in judging arguments about nature that also 
have overt social implications: When such claims imbue nature with just those properties that make us feel good 
or fuel our prejudices, be doubly suspicious. I am especially wary of arguments that find kindness, mutuality, 
synergism, harmony-the very elements that we strive mightily, and so often unsuccessfully, to put into our own 
lives- intrinsically in nature. I see no evidence for Teilhard's noosphere, for Capra's California style of holism, for 
Sheldrake's morphic resonance. Gaia strikes me as a metaphor, not a mechanism. (Metaphors can be liberating 
and enlightening, but new scientific theories must supply new statements about causality. Gaia, to me, only 
seems to reformulate, in different terms, the basic conclusions long achieved by classically reductionist 
arguments of biogeochemical cycling theory.) There are no shortcuts to moral insight. Nature is not intrinsically 
anything that can offer comfort or solace in human terms-if only because our species is such an insignificant 
latecomer in a world not constructed for us." (Gould, S.J., "Kropotkin was no Crackpot," in "Bully for 
Brontosaurus: Further Reflections in Natural History," [1991], Penguin: London, 1992, pp.338-339)

14/01/2006
"Religion takes a savage beating from Dawkins, especially Catholicism, for which he seems to have conceived an 
almost lunatic hatred. ... His theory of religion is spelled out in five essays gathered under the heading `The 
Infected Mind.' Religion is simply a `virus of the mind' ... He freely avows both `hostility' and `contempt' for 
religion, and he feels it is his moral duty to mock it as much as he can. ... Polite concealment of contempt is not a 
rhetorical mode that one associates with Dawkins. He is much given to invective, not all of it against religion. 
Here is how he characterizes the thoughts and attitudes of some of his other targets: `caterwauling shrieks,' `low- 
grade intellectual poodling of pseudo- philosophical poseurs,' `footling debates,' `boorish tenured confidence,' 
`yahooish complacency,' and `driveling ephemera of juvenile pamphleteers and the old preaching of spiteful 
hard-liners.' The man, as they say nowadays, has issues. ... The same failure to think things through is evident in 
Dawkins' views on religion. There is nothing in Darwinism, even in its most naturalistic form, that must lead one 
to despise religion as Dawkins does. There is every indication that religion is natural to man and conducive, on 
the whole, to his survival. It can give him hope in adversity, strengthen family bonds, and motivate sacrifice for 
the common good. Dawkins calls it a virus; but if it is, it is one that, according to the latest research, makes us 
healthier. `Faith sufferers,' as Dawkins calls them, seem to suffer less from a wide array of ills. Among other 
things, they are less given to depression, anxiety, addiction, criminality, suicide, and divorce. ... Dawkins gave an 
interview to Belief.net recently. He was asked whether he could think of anything, just `one positive, if minor, 
thing' that religion has done for the good. No, he replied, he really couldn't. What about great religious art? 
`That's not religion,' said Dawkins, `it is just because the Church had the money. Great artists like ... Bach ... 
would have done whatever they were told to do.' [Sheahen L., "Religion: For Dummies," Beliefnet, December 9, 
2003] So Johann Sebastian Bach was just in it for the money. What this sordid remark reveals, apart from amazing 
ignorance and philistinism, is the mind of a true fanatic. It is not enough for Dawkins to say that religion is bad 
on the whole; it must be wholly bad." (Barr, S.M., "The Devil's Chaplain Confounded," First Things, 
145, August/September 2004, pp.25-31). 

14/01/2006
"PARIS (AFP) - Suicide bombers who have sown mayhem from Israel to Iraq  and from Chechnya  to Sri Lanka 
are usually far from being the madmen, religious fanatics or impoverished misfits they are often portrayed as, it 
was reported. ... The British science weekly New Scientist says that experts who have studied the 
psychological profiles and backgrounds of suicide bombers find these assailants are often secular, well-educated 
individuals. Many of them are born to prosperous families and take a rational decision about the path they chose, 
says a report in this Saturday's issue. `What this amounts to is in many ways more alarming than the ubiquitous 
misperception of the suicide bomber as fanatical,' New Scientist says. `It means that in the right 
circumstances, anyone could be one.' A study of Hamas and Palestinian suicide attackers from the 1980s to 2003 
by Claude Berrebi, an economist at Princeton University, found that only 13 percent of them came from a poor 
background, compared with 32 percent of the Palestinian population in general. In addition, more than half the 
suicide bombers had entered further education, compared with just 15 percent of the general population. 
Similarly, a study into Hezbollah militants who died in action in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s were less like to 
have come from poor families and likelier to have attended secondary school than others of their age. As for the 
idea that suicide bombers are simply suicidal, that is discounted by Israeli psychologist Ariel Merari of Tel Aviv 
University. He studied the backgrounds of every suicide bomber in the Middle East since 1983, when the modern 
era of suicide attacks began with the truck bomb assault US embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people. `In the majority, 
you find none of the risk factors normally associated with suicide, such as mood disorders or schizophrenia, 
substance abuse or history of attempted suicide,' Merari told New Scientist. Eyad El Sarraj, chairman of 
the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, said his own studies of Palestinian `martyrs' found a common 
source in a traumatic childhood experience. All had experienced helplessness as a child, particularly the 
humiliation of their father by Israeli soldiers. Whatever the individual trigger, suicide bombers are invariably 
channelled by a disciplined, well-organized group into taking the path of self destruction in the fight against the 
enemy, the report says. This group, a result of a `peculiar mix of social, cultural and political ingredients,' forges 
and promotes the cult of the suicide bomber, glorifying his or her acts within the community and indoctrinating 
him or her, often with promises of divine reward. This `brotherhood mentality' is typically reinforced at the crucial 
moment by a farewell testimony in a letter or video -- a classic manoeuvre to force the attacker beyond the point 
of no return. `If you are in a small cell of suicide terrorists and they are all dying one by one, and you have made 
this commitment on a videotape saying goodbye to your family and everyone else, the psychological investment 
is such that it would be almost impossibly humiliating to pull back,' Scott Atran, an anthropologist at the 
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, said." ("What makes bombers tick?," The Age, May 12, 2004)

15/01/2006
"There is one other kind of fallout from current marital norms that comes into focus through the new paradigm: 
the toll taken on children. Martin Daly and Margo Wilson have written, `Perhaps the most obvious prediction 
from a Darwinian view of parental motives is this: Substitute parents will generally tend to care less profoundly 
for children than natural parents.' Thus, `children reared by people other than their natural parents will be more 
often exploited and otherwise at risk. Parental investment is a precious resource, and selection must favor those 
parental psyches that do not squander it on nonrelatives.' [Daly M. & Wilson M., "Homicide," Aldine de Gruyter: 
Hawthorne NY, 1988, p.83] To some Darwinians, this expectation might seem so strong as to render its 
verification a waste of time. But Daly and Wilson took the trouble. What they found surprised even them. In 
America in 1976, a child living with one or more substitute parents was about one hundred times more likely to be 
fatally abused than a child living with natural parents. In a Canadian city in the 1980s, a child two years of age or 
younger was seventy times more likely to be killed by a parent if living with a stepparent and natural parent than 
if living with two natural parents. Of course, murdered children are a tiny fraction of the children living with 
stepparents; the divorce and re marriage of a mother is hardly a child's death warrant. But consider the more 
common problem of nonfatal abuse. Children under ten were, depending on their age and the particular study in 
question, between three and forty times more likely to suffer parental abuse if living with a stepparent and a 
natural parent than if living with two natural parents. [Daly & Wilson, 1988, pp.89-91] It is fair to infer that many 
less dramatic, undocumented forms of parental indifference follow this rough pattern. After all, the whole reason 
natural selection invented paternal love was to bestow benefits on offspring. Though biologists call these 
benefits `investment,' that doesn't mean they're strictly material, wholly sustainable through monthly checks. 
Fathers give their children all kinds of tutelage and guidance (more, often, than either father or child realizes) and 
guard them against all kinds of threats. A mother alone simply can't pick tip the slack. A stepfather almost surely 
won't pick up much, if any of it. In Darwinian terms, a young stepchild is an obstacle to fitness, a drain on 
resources." (Wright, R., "The Moral Animal: Evolutionary Psychology and Everyday Life," [1994], Vintage 
Books: New York NY, 1995, reprint, pp.103-104)

15/01/2006
"Stepfathers Worse Than No Father. Westerners appalled by such barbaric treatment of the fatherless should 
take a look at their local newspapers. Child homicide in civilized societies is nowhere tolerated, very much against 
the law, and uncommon. Nevertheless, in North America when the father of offspring under two years of age no 
longer lives in the home and an unrelated man or stepfather lives there instead, this rare event is seventy times 
more likely to occur. [Daly M. & Wilson M.I., "Homicide," Aldine de Gruyter: Hawthorne NY, 1988; Daly M & 
Wilson M.I., "Discriminative parental solicitude and the relevance of evolutionary models to the analysis of 
motivational systems." in Gazzaniga M., ed., "The Cognitive Neurosciences," MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1995, 
pp.1269-1286] The murder of infants by stepfathers or mothers' boyfriends resembles the circumstances under 
which sexually selected infanticide evolved in other primates: males from outside the breeding system increase 
their own chances to breed by eliminating offspring sired by rivals. The superficial similarities have sometimes 
led to the erroneous conclusion that child abuse as we know it today is or once was adaptive. [Wray H., "The 
evolution of child abuse," Science News, Vol. 122, 1982, pp.24-26] Some clarification is in order. Canadian 
psychologists Martin Daly and Margo Wilson were the first to demonstrate increased risk to infants from having 
unrelated men in the house. They were careful to stress that in postindustrial human societies, neither child 
abuse nor infanticide is adaptive. More likely than not, the boyfriend goes to jail and the mother is prosecuted for 
neglect. More important, the attacker is not some invader entering the breeding system from out side it: he 
already has keys to the apartment and access to the mother's bed. Imagine: the mother goes off on an errand, 
leaving her baby in the boy friend's care. She may or may not have an inkling of the risk. Perhaps she senses that 
her boyfriend resents diversion of household resources, including her attention, to some other man's child. ... 
Perhaps boyfriend and baby are already off to a bad start all the more reason why the baby may reject such 
tentative comfort as this man offers. The baby cries, makes demands not willingly met by a man in no way 
sensitized for this task. Mother Nature has set high his threshold against altruism toward this insatiable stranger. 
Because of the low degree of relatedness between the man and the child, the benefits don't come close to out 
weighing the costs of care. [Daly & Wilson, 1980, 1988 & 1995] But beyond his lack of solicitude for an unrelated, 
very vulnerable but demanding dependent, the abusive boyfriend may have little more in common with an 
infanticidal monkey than a certain nonspecific impatience, a general predisposition to respond violently to 
repeated annoyance. ... A more appropriate animal analogue for a brutal stepfather would be an alloparent of 
either sex compelled to invest in an infant he or she has lost interest in. The motive is not to kill the infant in order 
to increase reproductive access to the mother, but to rid oneself of an encumbrance. What evolved is not the 
bizarre and maladaptive alternation of solicitude with torture that we know as `child abuse. `What evolved was a 
high threshold for responding in a solicitous way toward an offspring not likely to be genetically related the 
equivalent of emotional earplugs. [Daly, M. & Wilson, M.I., "Discriminative Parental Solicitude: A Biological 
Perspective," Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 42, No. 2, May, 1980, pp. 277-288]" (Hrdy, S.B., 
"Mother Nature: Natural Selection and the Female of the Species," Chatto & Windus: London, 1999, pp.236-237)

15/01/2006
"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.' Darwin himself had 
emphasized that nonadaptive changes also occur during evolution, Chomsky said." (Horgan, J., "The 
Undiscovered Mind: How the Brain Defies Explanation," [1999], Phoenix: London, 2000, p.178. Emphasis original)

15/01/2006
"Biologists could make progress in reconstructing the origins of human traits similar to those found in other 
animals, Chomsky said. For example, Richard Dawkins and other theorists had developed plausible computer 
models showing how `a flat photo-sensitive surface could turn into an eye in a not-too-large number of 
generations. But that's because you know something about the physics and physiology.' The same was true of 
the human arm. `You can find some evidence of intermediate stages. You know something about the physics and 
physiology. You have homologous structures in other organisms.' In the case of language and other uniquely 
human attributes, Chomsky said, `you don't have any of those things.'" (Horgan, J., "The Undiscovered 
Mind: How the Brain Defies Explanation," [1999], Phoenix: London, 2000, p.178. Emphasis original)

15/01/2006
"Chomsky noted that we utter words one at a time, in a linear fashion. But we could conceivably have acquired 
the ability to emit one set of sounds from the mouth and another from the nose. The ability to utter two separate 
sequences of noises through both the mouth and nose would provide us with a `much more complex and rich 
communication. We wouldn't be bound by temporal linearity.' If humans had developed such a capacity, 
Chomsky said, evolutionary psychologists would no doubt have `explained' it as a product of natural selection. 
Actually, Darwinian theory neither prohibits nor demands language, nor does it constrain how the language 
capacity should be designed. `It doesn't predict anything!' Chomsky exclaimed." (Horgan, J., "The 
Undiscovered Mind: How the Brain Defies Explanation," [1999], Phoenix: London, 2000, pp.178-179)

15/01/2006
"Chomsky called evolutionary psychology a `philosophy of mind with a little bit of science thrown in' If 
anything, evolutionary theory can explain not too little but too much. `You find that people cooperate, you say, 
'Yeah, that contributes to their genes' perpetuating.' You find that they fight, you say 'Sure that's obvious 
because it means that their genes perpetuate and not somebody else's' In fact, just about anything you find, you 
can make some story for it." (Horgan, J., "The Undiscovered Mind: How the Brain Defies Explanation," [1999], 
Phoenix: London, 2000, p.179)

15/01/2006
"The Evil-Father Syndrome. Evolutionary psychology is weakest when it attempts to explain unusual human 
behavior, such as the murder of children by their parents. To Darwinians, who view procreation as the sine qua 
non of life, these are the most perverse of all acts. The problem was taken up in the 1980s by Margo Wilson and 
her husband, Martin Daly of McMaster University in Canada, among the most respected of all evolutionary 
psychologists. After analyzing murder records from the United States and Canada, Wilson and Daly determined 
that children were roughly sixty times more likely to be killed by a stepparent-and usually a stepfather-than by a 
natural parent. They pointed out that this type of non-kin infanticide is common in nature; males of many 
species, from mice to monkeys, kill offspring that their mates conceived with another male. The selfish-gene 
perspective was upheld after all. Or was it? Even Wilson and Daly have warned that their results should be 
interpreted with caution-and with good reason. Clearly one cannot say that men have an innate propensity to kill 
their mate's children if the children were fathered by other men, because the vast majority of stepfathers never 
abuse or kill their children. Moreover, fathers who adopt children are even less likely than biological fathers to kill 
or abuse their children. Of course, men who adopt children are atypical, because they are screened for emotional 
and financial stability-but that is exactly the point. Men who abuse stepchildren are obviously atypical too. They 
may have assumed responsibility for a spouse's children reluctantly. They may be subject to unusual financial 
and emotional stresses. These are the factors that lead certain men to kill or harm a mate's children-not some 
instinctual urge that they share with mice or monkeys. Wilson and Daly's research is nonetheless often cited as a 
model of Darwinian social science, since it addresses an important issue and rests on a large empirical 
foundation. When the New York Times in 1997 asked leading intellectuals to name the last book they had 
read twice, Steven Pinker singled out Homicide, a book in which Wilson and Daly presented an 
evolutionary view of human violence. Ironically, Pinker later wrote an article for the  New York Times 
Magazine  that inadvertently undermined the Daly and Wilson research- and, indeed, the entire enterprise of 
Darwinian psychology. Pinker's article addressed a spate of incidents in which biological mothers had killed their 
newborn children. (In one case, a girl at a high school dance gave birth in a bathroom stall, killed the infant, and 
then returned to the dance floor.) Although maternal infanticide seems at first glance to be the ultimate violation 
of Darwinian precepts, Pinker said, it might result from natural selection. He noted that in certain stressful 
circumstances, our maternal ancestors would have been well advised to kill a newborn baby rather than devoting 
scarce resources to it, resources needed to sustain the mother and her older offspring. This innate psychological 
module might be switched on in modern mothers by severe stress. A few weeks after Pinker's article was 
published, the New York Times Magazine  printed a letter from Claude Fischer, a sociologist at the 
University of California at Berkeley. Pinker's article, Fischer complained, `illustrates how silly evolutionary 
explanations of human behavior have become. When mothers protect their newborns (which almost all do), it's 
because that behavior is evolutionarily adaptive. And now, when a few mothers kill their newborns, that's 
evolutionarily adaptive too. Any behavior and its opposite is `explained' by evolutionary selection.... Thus, 
nothing is explained.'" (Horgan, J., "The Undiscovered Mind: How the Brain Defies Explanation," [1999], Phoenix: 
London, 2000, pp.183-185)

16/01/2006
"You have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents and so on. With every generation, the 
number of ancestors doubles. Go back g generations and the number of ancestors is 2 multiplied by itself g times: 
2 to the power g. Except that, without leaving our armchair, we can quickly see that it cannot be so. To convince 
ourselves of this, we have only to go back a little way-say, to the time of Jesus, almost exactly two thousand 
years ago. If we assume, conservatively, four generations per century-that is, that people breed on average at the 
age of twenty-five-two thousand years amounts to a mere eighty generations. The real figure is probably more 
than this (until recent times, many women bred extremely young), but this is only an armchair calculation, and the 
point is made regardless of such details. Two multiplied by itself 80 times is a formidable number, a 1 followed by 
24 noughts, a trillion American trillions. You had a million million million million ancestors who were 
contemporaries of Jesus, and so did I! But the total population of the world at that time was a fraction of a 
negligible fraction of the number of ancestors we have just calculated. Obviously we have gone wrong 
somewhere, but where? We did the calculation right. The only thing we got wrong was our assumption about 
doubling up in every generation. In effect, we forgot that cousins marry. I assumed that we each have eight 
great-grandparents. But any child of a first-cousin marriage has only six great-grandparents, because the cousins' 
shared grandparents are in two separate ways great-grandparents to the children. `So what?' you may ask. People 
occasionally marry their cousins ... but surely it doesn't happen often enough to make a difference? Yes it does, 
because `cousin' for our purposes includes second cousins, fifth cousins, sixteenth cousins and so forth. When 
you count cousins as distant as that, every marriage is a marriage between cousins. You sometimes hear people 
boasting of being a distant cousin of the Queen, but it is rather pompous of them, because we are all distant 
cousins of the Queen, and of everybody else, in more ways than can ever be traced. ... The upshot of all this is 
that we are much closer cousins of one another than we normally realize, and we have many fewer ancestors than 
simple calculations suggest. Seeking to get her reasoning, along these lines, I once asked a student to make an 
educated guess as to how long ago her most recent common ancestor with me might have lived. Looking hard at 
my face, she unhesitatingly replied, in a slow, rural accent, `Back to the apes.' An excusable intuitive leap, but it is 
approximately 10,000 percent wrong. It would suggest a separation measured in millions of years. The truth is 
that the most recent ancestor she and I shared would possibly have lived no more than a couple of centuries ago, 
probably well after William the Conqueror. Moreover, we were certainly cousins in many different ways 
simultaneously." (Dawkins, R., "River out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life," Phoenix: London, 1996, pp.38-40)

16/01/2006
"Next time you are with a large group of people-say, in a concert hall or at a football matchlook around at the 
audience and reflect upon the following: if you have any descendants at all in the distant future, there are 
probably people at the same concert whose hands you could shake as coancestors of your future descendants. 
... You can survey the auditorium and speculate about which individuals, male or female, are destined to share 
your descendants and which are not. ... Now suppose we travel back in a time machine, perhaps to a crowd in the 
Colosseum, or farther back, to market day in Ur, or even farther still. Survey the crowd, just as we imagined for 
our modern concert audience. Realize that you can divide these long-dead individuals into two and only two 
categories: those who are your ancestors and those who are not. That is obvious enough, but now we come to a 
remarkable truth. If your time machine has taken you sufficiently far back, you can divide the individuals you 
meet into those who are ancestors of every human alive in 1995 and those who are the ancestors of nobody alive 
in 1995. There are no intermediates." (Dawkins, R., "River out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life," Phoenix: 
London, 1996, pp.40-42)

16/01/2006
"How many ancestors do you have? If you go back some number of generations, how many ancestors are there 
in that generation? Assuming you're the product of normal human reproduction (clones can hit the "back" 
button right now), you have two parents. They had two parents, so you have four grandparents -- four ancestors 
if you go two generations back. Going back three generations, you have eight ancestors; four generations, 
sixteen ancestors; and so on. In mathematical terms, if you go back n generations, you have 2n ancestors. Not! 
This line of argument becomes preposterous if you carry it back far enough. Go back ten generations and you 
have 2^10 = 1024 ancestors. Call it 1000 just to make things easier. If you go back another ten generations, each 
of those 1000 has 1000 ancestors, so twenty generations back from you there are 1,000,000 ancestors. Thirty 
generations back there's another factor of 1000, so you have 1,000,000,000 ancestors -- one (American) billion. 
Which can't be right. Thirty generations back is roughly 1000 years -- and there weren't a billion people on Earth 
then. (See "How Many People Have Ever Lived on Earth?") Granted, not all the people in the thirtieth 
generation back from you lived at the same time, but that doesn't help much. And it gets worse and worse. Ten 
more generations back and you have a trillion ancestors. This is about ten times more than the estimated number 
of people who have ever lived. Ten more generations, a quadrillion ancestors. And so on. Yet everyone has two 
parents. So the only way you can avoid this ridiculous conclusion is to realize that some of your ancestors 
must have had ancestors in common. In a simple case, if your father's grandparents on his father's side 
are the same people as your mother's grandparents on her father's side, then you have only six ancestors three 
generations back, not eight: Your father's maternal grandparents, your mother's maternal grandparents, and two 
more people who are the paternal grandparents of both your parents. To put it another way, there are two 
different paths back from you to two of your great grandparents. But if so, then your parents are first cousins. 
And generally, if you have ancestors who had ancestors in common -- as you now know you must -- then 
that means those ancestors were related. Somewhere in your ancestry, you have couples who were some sort of 
relatives of one another. Well, we knew that, of course. We all must have common descent from some individual 
ancestor, whether one of the earliest modern Homo sapiens of 50,000 years ago, or an earlier species of Homo a 
million or more years ago, or some other primate even earlier. And that means all couples in your ancestry (and 
everyone else's) were relatives of one another. But the above argument proves you must have multiple paths 
back to the same ancestors in much more recent times. Your parents probably have common ancestors 
within the past 1000 years -- and so, probably, do you and your spouse, or you and your best friend. I myself 
know of several cases of multiple paths back from me to ancestors in the 18th century -- some a little more scary 
than others! Of course if one person's ancestors all came from (say) Easter Island and another's all came from 
Scandanavia, their common ancestor is likely to be further back. Maybe even then, not as far back as you'd think. 
Douglas LT Rohde has written a paper (PDF format) reporting on a series of computer simulations which suggest 
all people in the world today have a most recent common ancestor (MRCA) who lived about 2000 to 5000 years 
ago. (Go a few thousand years further back and everyone on earth at that time who has any descendants 
alive today is an ancestor of everyone alive today!) Anyway, if you have any northern European 
(especially English or Danish) ancestry... then you and I probably have a common ancestor who lived after, say, 
700 AD. Jack Lee  argues that he knows who that ancestor is: Charlemagne. (Or, less flippantly, that 
everyone living at the time of Charlemagne who has any descendants alive today is an ancestor of everyone of 
European descent alive today.)" (Holmes, R., "How many ancestors?," Rich Holmes's Genealogy Web Site, 
September 13, 2005. Emphasis original)  

16/01/2006
"Vincent Sarich ... who has never shrunk from controversy, said flatly that any fossil older than eight million 
years could not be human, no matter what it looked like. The alternative, recognised right away by Sherwood 
Washburn at Berkeley, was that the common ancestor of humans and African apes was African and a knuckle-
walker. In his view, the molecular evidence was putting flesh on the invisible ancestor. This sparked the rage 
reaction among palaeoanthropologists, which continued throughout the 1970s. The issue was: what kind of 
evidence best establishes genetic relationships through time-morphology or molecules? The literature of the 
1970s is peppered with angry diatribes against molecular anthropologists, especially Sarich, who presumed to 
insist that molecules were better evidence of genetic linkage than fragments of bones and teeth. Sarich issued 
this challenge to the palaeoanthropologists: "I know that my molecules had ancestors. You don't know that your 
fossils had descendants." (Lowenstein, J. & Zihlman, A., "The Invisible ape," New Scientist, Vol 120, No 
1641, 3 December 1988, pp.56-59, p.57)

16/01/2006
"Misia Landau was sitting in Yale University's Sterling Library, its leather- covered chairs and high book stacks 
imposing a palpable sense of Ivy League academia. It was the middle of her doctoral years, 1979, and she was 
reading intensely The Morphology of a Folk Tale by Vladimir Propp, a Russian literary critic. ... Landau 
...was preparing to run to the anthropology book stacks. ... `When I got to the shelves, the titles leaped out at me: 
The Story of Man...The Adventure of Humanity...Adventures with the Missing Link...Man Rises to Parnassus. 
Looking at them, I knew I had made a discovery. ... She had discovered a missing link between literature and 
paleoanthropology... Having completed a human-biology degree at Oxford University, England, she had enrolled 
in the graduate anthropology program at Yale and was hoping to uncover something significant about the 
evolutionary history of the human brain.....The combination of Landau's inclination to do something theoretical 
and Pilbeam's historical perspective launched the dissertation in a new direction: it would be some kind of 
analysis of early paleoanthropological ideas. However, a further ingredient was to be crucial in the new 
venture...literature, Landau's great love as a young girl. ... `I started reading this material, and couldn't stop. I 
started making connections between literature and the anthropology texts. I started thinking in terms of a plot in 
these books. It was very exciting. ` A friend lent her a copy of Propp's Morphology of a Folk Tale, which 
is a classic work in literary analysis.... On the basis mainly of Russian literature, Propp describes the hero myths 
of folk tales in terms of a basic structure they all follow: ... The more Landau read, the more she perceived 
connections. `I was sitting there, in the Sterling Library, reading Propp, and the folk tales seemed so...familiar...I 
suddenly realized that the tale also described human evolution, at least as written about in the books I'd been 
reading.' This was the point of discovery. When she got to the paleoanthropology shelves, she now recalls, `I 
realized that I was standing in front of a genre of literature, that I could approach the study of human evolution 
as a study of literature.' In other words, while Osborn, Gregory, and their colleagues considered themselves to 
have written scientific analyses of human evolution, they had in fact been telling stories. Scientific stories, to be 
sure, but stories nevertheless... Each author had his own reasons for casting the evolutionary scheme the way he 
did, but there is order in the apparent chaos, argues Landau, because all followed the same basic structure in 
their narratives: the form of the hero myth." (Lewin, R., "Bones of Contention: Controversies in the Search for 
Human Origins," Simon & Shuster: New York NY, 1987, pp.30-33)

17/01/2006
"It should be noted that Scripture does not always use the Hebrew word bara' and the Greek term 
ktizein in that absolute sense. It also employs these terms to denote a secondary creation, in which God 
made use of material that was already in existence but could not of itself have produced the result indicated, Gen. 
1:21,27; 5:1; Isa. 6:7,12; 54:16; Amos 4:13; I Cor. 11:9; Rev. 10:6. It even uses them to designate that which comes 
into existence under the providential guidance of God, Ps. 104:30; Isa. 45:7,8; 65:18; I Tim. 4:4. two other terms are 
used synonymously with the term `to create,' namely, `to make' (Heb., 'asah; Greek, poiein) and `to 
form' (Heb. yatsar; Greek, plasso). The former is clearly used in all the three senses indicated in the 
preceding: of primary creation in Gen. 2:4; Prov. 16:4; Acts 17:24; more frequently of secondary creation, Gen. 
1:7,16,26; 2:22; Ps. 89:47; and of the work of providence in Ps. 74:17. The latter is used similarly of primary 
creation, Ps. 90:2 (perhaps the only instance of this use); of secondary creation, Gen. 2:7,19; Ps. 104:26; Amos 
4:13; Zech. 12:1; and of the work of providence, Deut. 32:18; Isa. 43:1,7,21; 45:7. All three words are found 
together in Isa. 45:7. Creation in the strict sense of the word may be defined as that free act of God whereby He, 
according to His sovereign will and for His own glory, in the beginning brought forth the whole visible and 
invisible universe, without the use of preexistent material and thus gave it an existence, distinct from His own and 
yet always dependent on Him. In view of the Scriptural data indicated in the preceding, it is quite evident, 
however, that this definition applies only to what is generally known as primary or immediate creation, that is, the 
creation described in Gen. 1:1. But the Bible clearly uses the word `create' also in cases in which God did make 
use of preexisting materials, as in the creation of sun, moon, and stars, of the animals and of man. ... cases, also 
designated in Scripture as creative work, in which God works through secondary causes, Ps. 104:30; Isa. 45:7,8; 
Jer. 31:22; Amos 4:13, and produces results which only He could produce." (Berkhof, L.*, "Systematic 
Theology," [1949], Banner of Truth: London, 1966, reprint, pp128-129)

17/01/2006
"God as a Virus? Undeterred, Dawkins developed his meme concept in another direction - a virus of the mind. 
"Memes," Dawkins tells us, can be transmitted "like viruses in an epidemic." [A Devil's Chaplain, 121] 
Although the connection between a "meme" and a "virus of the mind" is not clarified with the precision we might 
expect, it is clear that, for Dawkins, the key theme in each case is replication. For a virus to be effective, it 
must possess two qualities: the ability to replicate information accurately, and to obey the instructions which are 
encoded in the information replicated in this way." Yet there is also a verbal sleight of hand at work here, a 
rhetorical device apparently being presented as if it is good science. As everyone knows, viruses are bad 
things; they are contagious, parasitic entities, which exploit their hosts. The rhetorically freighted "argument" 
that God is a virus amounts to little more than thinly veiled insinuation, rather than rigorous evidence-based 
reasoning. Belief in God is proposed as a malignant infection contaminating otherwise pure minds. Yet the whole 
idea founders on the rocks of the absence of experimental evidence, the subjectivity of Dawkins' personal value-
judgments implicated in assessing what is "good" and "bad," and the circularity of self-referentiality. So just 
what is the experimental evidence that God is bad for you? Dawkins presumes that it is publicly accepted within 
the scientific community that religion debilitates people, reducing their potential for survival and health. Yet 
recent empirical research points to a generally positive interaction of religion and health. That there are 
pathological types of religious belief and behavior is well known; yet this in no way invalidates the generally 
positive estimation of religion's impact on mental health to emerge from evidence-based studies. Dawkins 
appears to assume that his readers will rather uncritically share his own subjective views on the malignancy of 
religion, and thus accept his grandiose conclusions without demur. But they are not grounded in the rigorously 
evidence-based analysis, based on objective observation of the impact of religion on individuals, which is typical 
of the scientific enterprise that both Dawkins and I admire. When, one wonders, will popular science catch up 
with cutting edge research here?" (McGrath, A.E., "Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life," 
Blackwell: Malden MA, 2005, pp.135-136. Emphasis original)

18/01/2006
"When, at Rio de Janeiro, the ship's carpenters then began making packing cases for Darwin's first consignment 
home, McCormick was deeply offended, to a point that would make reconciliation difficult. He was resentful that 
the voyage, which at first had seemed a perfect opportunity to fulfil his own ambitions, was instead a period 
`which I can only look back to with unavailing regret, as so much time, health, and energies utterly wasted.' 
[McCormick R., "Voyages of Discovery in the Arctic and Antarctic Seas and around the World," 1884, vol. 1, 
p.218]... No wonder then that Darwin's natural history activities were such a sore point with McCormick. 
Everything on board seemed to encourage Darwin's private collection rather than the surgeon's. Further than 
this, FitzRoy was making arrangements to ship Darwin's things home by the official routes available to the 
Admiralty, a considerable gift to Darwin, who had expected to pay all his own expenses. In McCormick's eyes, 
Darwin was receiving much more than he deserved-not only the benefits of the captain's blessing on board ship 
and free transport of cargo but even the right to retain ownership of these valuable commodities when they 
arrived in England. By making a bigger and better collection with the indulgent approval of the captain, Darwin 
was demolishing all McCormick's justified hopes for social, scientific, and professional advancement. `Having 
found myself in a false position on board a small and very uncomfortable vessel,' McCormick wrote in frustration, 
`and very much disappointed in my expectations of carrying out my natural history pursuits, every obstacle 
having been placed in the way of my getting on shore and making collections, I got permission from the admiral 
in command of the station here to be superseded and allowed a passage home on H.M.S. Tyne.' [McCormick 
1884, vol. 1, p.219] He stalked off to buy a parrot as a souvenir before leaving the Beagle full of rancour, only four 
months out of Plymouth." (Browne, E.J., "Charles Darwin Voyaging: A Biography," [1995], Princeton University 
Press: Princeton NJ, 1996, reprint, pp.204,10)

18/01/2006
"Also, I myself share just about every bit of Dawkins's nonbelief. ... However, I worry about the political 
consequences of Dawkins's message. If Darwinism is a major contributor to nonbelief, then should Darwinism be 
taught in publicly funded U.S. schools? ... It is true that Darwinism conflicts with the Book of Genesis taken 
literally, but at least since the time of Saint Augustine (400 A.D.) Christians have been interpreting the seven 
days of creation metaphorically. I would like to see Dawkins take Christianity as seriously as he undoubtedly 
expects Christianity to take Darwinism. I would also like to see him spell out fully the arguments as to the 
incompatibility of science (Darwinism especially) and religion (Christianity especially). So long as his 
understanding of Christianity remains at the sophomoric level, Dawkins does not deserve full attention. It is all 
very well to sneer ... but what reply does Dawkins have to the many theologians (like Jonathan Edwards) who 
have devoted huge amounts of effort to distinguishing between false beliefs and true ones? What reply does 
Dawkins have to the contemporary philosopher Alvin Plantinga, who argues that the belief that there are other 
minds and that others are not just unthinking robots requires a leap of faith akin to the Christian belief in the 
Deity? Edwards and Plantinga may be wrong, but Dawkins owes them some reply before he gives his cocky 
negative conclusions. ... Finally ... I do wish that he and other science writers would cease assuming that 
philosophical issues can be solved by talking in a brisk, confident voice. ... I agree fully with Dawkins when he 
writes that `Modern physics teaches us that there is more to truth than meets the eye; or than meets the all too 
limited human mind, evolved as it was to cope with medium-sized objects moving at medium speeds through 
medium distances in Africa.' But how then does Dawkins respond to the obvious retort of the religious, who 
have always stressed mystery? ... Perhaps one agrees that traditional religions-Christianity specifically-do not 
offer the full answers. But what is to stop a nonbeliever like myself from saying that the Christians are asking 
important questions and that they are right to have a little humility before the unknown? As Saint Paul said: 
`Now we see through a glass, darkly.' That apparently includes Richard Dawkins." (Ruse, M.E., " Through a 
Glass, Darkly." Review of "A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love," by Richard 
Dawkins, Houghton Mifflin, 2003. 
http://www.americanscientist.org/template/BookReviewTypeDetail/assetid/28365)

20/01/2006
IF MODERN ZOOLOGY admits of anything approaching a full-blown I origin myth, it is the Cambrian Explosion. 
The Cambrian is the first period of the Phanerozoic Eon, the last 545 million years, during which animal and plant 
[sic] life as we know it suddenly became manifest in fossils. Before the Cambrian, fossils were either tiny traces or 
enigmatic mysteries. From the Cambrian onwards, there has been a clamorous menagerie of multicellular life, more 
or less plausibly presaging our own. It is the suddenness with which multicellular fossils appear at the base of 
the Cambrian that prompts the metaphor of explosion." (Dawkins, R., "The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the 
Dawn of Evolution," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, 2004, p.436)

21/01/2006
"As we saw at Rendezvous 22, Chengjiang has fossils that appear to be true vertebrates, pre-dating the 
amphioxus-like Pikaia of the Burgess Shale and other Cambrian chordates. Traditional zoological wisdom never 
had vertebrates arising so early. Yet Myllokunmingia, of which more than 500 specimens have now been 
discovered at Chengjiang, looks pretty much like a good jawless fish, such as had previously been thought not 
to arise until 50 million years later in the middle of the Ordovician. ... The pushing of the vertebrates back into the 
middle of the Cambrian only strengthens the idea of sudden explosion that is the basis of the myth. It really does 
appear that most of today's major animal phyla first appear as fossils in a narrow span within the Cambrian. This 
doesn't mean that there were no representatives of those phyla before the Cambrian. But they have mostly not 
fossilised. How should we interpret this? We can distinguish various combinations of three main hypotheses ... 
1. NO REAL EXPLOSION. On this view there was only an explosion of fossilisability, not of actual evolution. The 
phyla actually go back a long way before the Cambrian, with concestors spread out through hundreds of millions 
of years in the Precambrian. ... On this view, fossils were, for unknown reasons, not readily formed before the 
Cambrian. Perhaps they lacked readily fossilisable hard parts, such as shells, carapaces and bones. ... 2. 
MEDIUM-FUSE EXPLOSION. The concestors uniting the various phyla really did live reasonably close to each 
other in time, but still spread out over several tens of millions of years before the observed explosion of fossils. ... 
3. OVERNIGHT EXPLOSION. This third school of thought is, in my opinion, bonkers. ... The third school 
believes that new phyla sprang into existence overnight, in a single macromutational leap. ... We can, then, with 
complete confidence, reject the third of our three hypotheses, the bonkers one. That leaves the other two, or 
some compromise between them, and here I find myself agnostic and eager for more data. As we shall see in the 
epilogue to this tale, it seems to be increasingly accepted that the early molecular clock estimates were 
exaggerating when they pushed the major branch points hundreds of millions of years back into the Precambrian. 
On the other hand, the mere fact that there are few, if any, fossils of most animal phyla before the Cambrian 
should not stampede us into assuming that those phyla must have evolved extremely rapidly. The hurricane in a 
junkyard argument tells us that all those Cambrian fossils must have had continuously evolving antecedents. 
Those antecedents had to be there, but they have not been discovered. Whatever the reason, and whatever the 
timescale, they failed to fossilise, but they must have been there. On the face of it, it is harder to believe that a 
whole lot of animals could be invisible for 100 million years than that they could be invisible for only 10 million 
years. This leads some people to prefer the short-fuse Cambrian Explosion theory. On the other hand, the shorter 
you make the fuse, the harder it is to believe all that diversification could be crammed into the time available. So 
this argument cuts both ways and doesn't decisively choose between our two surviving hypotheses. ... The most 
recently available evidence seems to me to favour, even if only slightly, a view closer to a medium-fuse explosion. 
This goes against my earlier bias in favour of no real explosion. When more evidence comes in, as I hope it will, I 
shall not be in the least surprised if we find ourselves pushed the other way again into the deep Precambrian in 
our quest for the concestors of modern animal phyla. Or we might be pulled back to an impressively short 
explosion, in which the concestors of most of the great animal phyla are compressed into a period of 20 or even 
10 million years around the beginning of the Cambrian. ... I wouldn't be surprised to see either of the first two 
hypotheses vindicated. I'm not sticking my neck out. But I'll eat my hat if any evidence is ever found in favour of 
Hypothesis Three." (Dawkins, R., "The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution," Houghton 
Mifflin Co: Boston MA, 2004, pp.440-442, 446-448)

23/01/2006
"Darwin attempted to describe the causes of evolution in his theory of natural selection. The work of later 
biologists has borne out most of his basic contentions. Nevertheless, the modern theory of evolution, developed 
by a century of new discoveries in biology, differs greatly from Darwin's. His theory has not been overthrown; it 
has evolved." (Dobzhansky, T.G., "The Genetic Basis of Evolution," Scientific American, January 1950, in Srb 
A.M., Owen R.D. & Edgar R.S., eds, "Facets of Genetics: Readings from Scientific American," W.H. 
Freeman: San Francisco CA, W. H. Freeman, 1970, p.212)

23/01/2006
"`I hope you have not murdered too completely your own and my child.' So wrote Darwin to Alfred Russel 
Wallace, the biologist who had independently discovered natural selection. What prompted the purple prose? 
Darwin and Wallace were mutual admirers, so like-minded that they had been inspired by the same author 
(Malthus) to forge the same theory in almost the same words. What divided these comrades was the human 
mind. Darwin had coyly predicted that `psychology will be placed on a new foundation,' and in his notebooks 
was positively grandiose about how evolutionary theory would revolutionize the study of mind ... But Wallace 
reached the opposite conclusion. The mind, he said, is overdesigned for the needs of evolving humans and 
cannot be explained by natural selection. Instead, `a superior intelligence has guided the development of man in a 
definite direction, and for a special purpose.' ... Wallace became a creationist when he noted that foragers-
'savages,' in nineteenth-century parlance-were biologically equal to modern Europeans. Their brains were the 
same size, and they could easily adapt to the intellectual demands of modern life. But in the foragers' way of life, 
which was also the life of our evolutionary ancestors, that level of intelligence was not needed, and there was no 
occasion to show it off. How, then, could it have evolved in response to the needs of a foraging lifestyle? 
Wallace wrote: `.... Natural selection could only have endowed savage man with a brain a few degrees superior to 
that of an ape, whereas he actually possesses one very little inferior to that of a philosopher.' [Wallace A., 
"Natural Selection and Tropical Nature," 1895, p.202] Wallace's paradox, the apparent evolutionary uselessness 
of human intelligence, is a central problem of psychology, biology, and the scientific worldview. Even today, 
scientists such as the astronomer Paul Davies think that the `overkill' of human intelligence refutes Darwinism 
and calls for some other agent of a `progressive evolutionary trend,' perhaps a self-organizing process that will 
be explained someday by complexity theory. Unfortunately this is barely more satisfying than Wallace's idea of a 
superior intelligence guiding the development of man in a definite direction. ... Stephen Jay Gould, in an 
illuminating essay on Darwin and Wallace, sees Wallace as an extreme adaptationist who ignores the possibility 
of exaptations: adaptive structures that are `fortuitously suited to other roles if elaborated' ... `Objects designed 
for definite purposes can, as a result of their structural complexity, perform many other tasks as well. A factory 
may install a computer only to issue the monthly pay checks, but such a machine can also analyze the election 
returns or whip anyone's ass (or at least perpetually tie them) in tic-tac-toe.' [Gould, S.J., "The Panda's Thumb," 
1980, p.50] I agree with Gould that the brain has been exapted for novelties like calculus or chess, but this is just 
an avowal of faith by people like us who believe in natural selection; it can hardly fail to be true. It raises the 
question of who or what is doing the elaborating and co-opting, and why the original structures were suited to 
being co-opted. The factory analogy is not helpful. A computer that issues paychecks cannot also analyze 
election returns or play tic-tac-toe, unless someone has reprogrammed it first.' (Pinker S., "How the Mind Works," 
[1997], Penguin: London, 1998, reprint, pp.299-301)

23/01/2006
"So it was all the more unexpected when Wallace's next publication cut away most of the ground under their 
combined feet. In April 1869, in a long article in the Quarterly Review, Wallace backtracked on his commitment to 
natural selection. He claimed that natural selection could not account for the mental attributes of modern humans. 
... He said he had changed his mind since his 1864 paper on human origins. Wallace now claimed that at some 
point during mankind's early history, physical evolution had stopped and some higher driving force or spirit had 
taken over. The human mind alone continued to advance, human societies emerged, cultural imperatives took 
over, a mental and moral nature became significant, and civilisation took shape. Modern mankind thus escaped 
the fierce scrutiny of natural selection. The development of human thought freed humanity from the inexorable 
laws of nature. `Here then, we see the true grandeur and dignity of man.... he is, indeed, a being apart, since he is 
not influenced by the great laws which irresistibly modify all other organic beings.' Mankind was composed of a 
material frame (descended from the apes) and an immaterial spirit (infused by a higher power) that pulled mental 
and cultural development onwards. [Wallace A.R., "Sir Charles Lyell on geological estimates and the Origin of 
Species. Quarterly Review 126, 1869, pp.359-394] "I hope you have not murdered too completely your own & 
my child," Darwin exclaimed in horror. [Marchant J., ed., "Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters and Reminiscences, Vol. 
1, 1916, p.241] Turning over the pages of Wallace's article, he covered the text with pencil marks. `No!!!' he 
scrawled in the margin, underlining it three times. `If you had not told me, I should have thought that [your 
remarks] had been added by someone else.... I differ grieviously from you, and I am very sorry for it." [Marchant, 
1916, p.241] (Browne, E.J., "Charles Darwin: The Power of Place: Volume II of a Biography," [2002], Pimlico: 
London, 2003, pp.317-318)

25/01/2006
"The virtual complete absence of intermediate and ancestral forms from the fossil record is today recognised 
widely by many leading paleontologists as one of its most striking characteristics ... The fossils have not only 
failed to yield the host of transitional forms demanded by evolution theory, but because nearly all extinct species 
and groups revealed by paleontology are quite distinct and isolated as they burst into the record, then the 
number of hypothetical connecting links to join its diverse branches is necessarily greatly increased. ... The 
absence of transitional forms from the fossil record is dramatically obvious (even to a non-specialist without any 
knowledge of comparative morphology) where a group possesses some significant skeletal specialization or 
adaptation which is absent in its presumed ancestral type. ... There is no doubt that as it stands today the fossil 
record provides a tremendous challenge to the notion of organic evolution, because to close the very 
considerable gaps which at present separate the known groups would necessarily have required great numbers 
of transitional forms. Over and over again in the Origin Darwin reiterates the same point, leaving the reader in no 
doubt as to his belief that to bridge the gaps innumerable transitional forms would have to be postulated: `By the 
theory of natural selection all living species have been connected with the parent-species of each genus, by 
differences not greater than we see between the natural and domestic varieties of the same species at the present 
day and these parent-species, now generally extinct, have in their turn been similarly connected with more 
ancient forms; and so on backwards, always converging to the common ancestor of each great class. So that the 
number of intermediate and transitional links, between all living and extinct species, must have been 
inconceivably great. But assuredly, if this theory be true, such have lived upon the earth.' [Darwin C.R., 
"The Origin of Species," Sixth edition, 1872, Dent: London, 1928, reprint, p.294]" (Denton M.J., "Evolution: A 
Theory in Crisis," Burnett Books: London, 1985, pp.165-166,172. Emphasis Denton's)


25/01/2006
 "Darwin's insistence that gradual evolution by natural selection would require inconceivable numbers of 
transitional forms may have been something of an exaggeration but it is hard to escape concluding that in some 
cases he may not have been so far from the mark. Take the case of the gap between modern whales and land 
mammals. All known aquatic or semi-aquatic mammals such as seals, sea cows (sirenians) or otters are specialized 
representatives of distinct orders and none can possibly be ancestral to the present- day whales. To bridge the 
gap we are forced therefore to postulate a large number of entirely extinct hypothetical species starting from a 
small, relatively unspecialized land mammal like a shrew and leading successfully through an otter-like stage, 
seal-like stage, sirenian-like stage and finally to a putative organism which could serve as the ancestor of the 
modern whales. Even from the hypothetical whale ancestor stage we need to postulate many hypothetical 
primitive whales to bridge the not inconsiderable gaps which separate the modern filter feeders (the baleen 
whales) and the toothed whales. Moreover, it is impossible to accept that such a hypothetical sequence of 
species which led directly from the unspecialized terrestrial ancestral form gave rise to no collateral branches. 
Such an assumption would be purely ad hoc, and would also be tantamount to postulating an external unknown 
directive influence in evolution which would be quite foreign to the spirit of Darwinian theory and defeat its 
major purpose of attempting to provide a natural explanation for evolution. Rather, we must suppose the 
existence of innumerable collateral branches leading to many unknown types. This was clearly Darwin's view and 
it implies that the total number of species which must have existed between the discontinuities must have been 
much greater than the number of species on the shortest direct evolutionary pathway. In the diagram opposite, 
which shows a hypothetical lineage leading from a land mammal to a whale, while there are ten hypothetical 
species on the direct path, there are an additional fifty-three hypothetical species on collateral branches. 
Considering how trivial the differences in morphology usually are between well-defined species today, such as 
rat-mouse, fox-dog, and taking into account all the modifications necessary to convert a land mammal into a 
whale - forelimb modifications, the evolution of tail flukes, the streamlining, reduction of hindlimbs, modifications 
of skull to bring nostrils to the top of head, modification of trachea, modifications of behaviour patterns, 
specialized nipples so that the young could feed underwater (a complete list would be enormous) one is inclined 
to think in terms of possibly hundreds, even thousands, of transitional species on the most direct path between a 
hypothetical land ancestor and the common ancestor of modern whales." (Denton M., "Evolution: A Theory in 
Crisis," Burnett Books: London, 1985, pp.172,174)

25/01/2006
"To demonstrate that the great divisions of nature were really bridged by transitional forms in the past, it is not 
sufficient to find in the fossil record one or two types of organisms of doubtful affinity which might be placed on 
skeletal grounds in a relatively intermediate position between other groups. ... It is clear that there are formidable 
problems in interpreting evidence for continuity on the basis of skeletal remains. Consequently if the fossil 
record is to provide any grounds for believing that the great divisions of nature are not the unbridgeable 
discontinuities postulated by Cuvier, it is not sufficient that two groups merely approach one another closely in 
terms of their skeletal morphology. The very least required would be an unambiguous continuum of transitional 
species exhibiting a perfect gradation of skeletal form leading unarguably from one type to another. But the fact 
is that, as Stanley put it: `The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic (gradual) 
evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic model 
can be valid.' [Stanley S.M., "Macroevolution," 1979, p.39]" (Denton M., "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis," Burnett 
Books: London, 1985, pp.177,182)

25/01/2006
"Darwin wrote: 'Natural selection tends only to make each organic being as perfect as, or slightly more perfect 
than, the other inhabitants of the same country with which it has to struggle for existence.' [Darwin C.R., "The 
Origin of Species," [1859], First Edition, Penguin: London, 1985, reprint, p.229] The trouble with the mammal ear is 
that, in terms of natural selection, it has nothing of enough significance to justify its enormously complex system 
having emerged by natural selection. Amphibians, reptiles, and birds, all of which have only one earbone, can 
perceive pitch and volume at least as well as mammals, and in some cases better. The sole possible advantage is 
that mammals can hear to some extent stereophonically, while it is thought creatures with single earbones cannot 
do this quite so well. ... In the case of mammals, stereophony happens because our brains receive signals from 
both the outer and the inner ear, and the fractional delay in the sound impulses may enable us to estimate how far 
away a sound is coming from. In survival value, this might confer a minimal advantage in, for instance, spotting 
prey or escaping predators. But even if this ability were proved (for doubts still remain), it is hard to see how the 
transitional forms leading up to it could have made the ear, in Darwin's words 'slightly more perfect'. The 
stereophonic effect can only work when the inner and outer ears have been fully displaced." (Hitching F., "The 
Neck of the Giraffe: Or Where Darwin Went Wrong," Pan: London, 1982, p.93)

25/01/2006
"Natural selection tends only to make each organic being as perfect as, or slightly more perfect than, the other 
inhabitants of the same country with which it comes into competition. And we see that this is the standard of 
perfection attained under nature." (Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," [1872], 
Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 6th Edition, 1928, reprint, p.187)

27/01/2006
"A sudden beginning for man might be imagined as the result of the operation of some creative process, not 
found elsewhere. The endowment of the race by some outside force, agent, or God with a new entity `the soul' 
would be such a process, and of course it is not to be ruled out arbitrarily that this is what happened. Again there 
might, conceivably, have been a sudden genetic mutation, in one person, leading his descendants to be not only 
highly successful but also fertile only among themselves. We could then say that he was the first man." (Young 
J.Z., "An Introduction to the Study of Man," Clarendon Press: Oxford UK, 1971, p.456)

27/01/2006
"Man is indeed very different from all other animals, even from such fossils as those of Australopithecus. 
We feel that we must be in some way widely divergent from them, the product of some special and perhaps 
sudden process. This feeling is egocentric but cannot be dismissed as wholly irrational. Modern man is 
very different. " (Young J.Z., "An Introduction to the Study of Man," Clarendon Press: Oxford UK, 1971, p.457. 
Emphasis original)

27/01/2006
"Petitio Principii (begging the question) ... If one assumes as a premiss for an argument the very 
conclusion it is intended to prove, the fallacy committed is that of petitio principii, or begging the 
question. If the proposition to be established is formulated in exactly the same words both as premiss and as 
conclusion, the mistake would be so glaring as to deceive no one. Often, how ever, two formulations can be 
sufficiently different to obscure the fact that one and the same proposition occurs both as premiss and 
conclusion. ... In any such argument the conclusion asserts only what was asserted in the premisses, and hence 
the argument, though perfectly valid, is utterly incapable of establishing the truth of its conclusion. ... Thus one 
may argue that Shakespeare is a greater writer than Robbins because people with good taste in literature prefer 
Shakespeare. And if asked how one tells who has good taste in literature, one might reply that such persons are 
to be identified by their preferring Shakespeare to Robbins. Such a circular argument clearly begs the question 
and commits the fallacy of petitio principii." (Copi I.M., Introduction to Logic," [1953], Macmillan: New 
York NY, Seventh edition, 1986, p.101)

28/01/2006
"... Darwin ... said: "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have 
been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." [Darwin 
C., "The Origin of Species," [1859], Harvard University Press, reprint, 1966, p.189] Since this fact seems to have 
been demonstrated, if only by default, the reader will ask whether the modern Darwinians concede that the theory 
has broken down. The answer is a strange one-they are not greatly troubled by their failure to explain the 
adaptations because they are sustained and soothed by the best-in-field fallacy. Darwinism has had to compete 
with various rival theories, each of which aimed to be a more or less complete explanation. The most famous 
rivals were vitalism, fundamentalism, Lamarckism, and the hopeful-monster suggestion of Goldschmidt. The 
Darwinians have shown that none of these theories are any good. Simpson can shoot down each and every one 
of them with ease. Thus the Darwinians are able to say that Darwin made a better try than anyone else, and they 
find real comfort in this. Does this mean that Darwinism is correct? No. Sir Julian Huxley says that, once the 
hypothesis of special creation is ruled out, adaptation can only be ascribed to natural selection, but this is utterly 
unjustified. [Huxley J., "Evolution: The Modern Synthesis," Allen & Unwin: London, 1942, pp.430, 478] He 
should say only that Darwinism is better than the others. But when the others are no good, this is faint praise. Is 
there any glory in outrunning a cripple in a foot race? Being best-in-field means nothing if the field is made up of 
fumblers." (Macbeth, N., "Darwin Retried: An Appeal to Reason," Gambit: Boston MA, 1971, pp.76-77)

28/01/2006
"The best-in-field fallacy seems to be my own discovery. It does not appear in books on fallacies and I have not 
seen it clearly expressed anywhere else. Perhaps it appears with unusual frequency among the evolutionary 
theorists, who seem to have a special weakness for it. My best example comes from Mayr, although he is 
normally a highly intelligent man. In the passage concerned he concedes that there are valid objections to his 
theory, but he rules out these objections on the ground that their proponents have not advanced a better 
suggestion: "... it is a considerable strain on one's credulity to assume that finely balanced systems such as 
certain sense organs (the eye of vertebrates, or the bird's feather) could be improved by random mutations. This 
is even more true for some of the ecological chain relationships (the famous yucca moth case, and so forth). 
However, the objectors to random mutations have so far been unable to advance any alternative explanation that 
was supported by substantial evidence." [Mayr E., "Systematics and the Origin of Species," [1942], Dover: New 
York, 1964, p.296] It seems that the standards of the evolutionary theorists are relative or comparative rather than 
absolute. If such a theorist makes a suggestion that is better than other suggestions, or better than nothing, he 
feels that he has accomplished something even if his suggestion will obviously not hold water." (Macbeth, N., 
"Darwin Retried: An Appeal to Reason," Gambit: Boston MA, 1971, p.78)

28/01/2006
"`T: What are your thoughts now after being with this subject of evolution for such a long time-yours I mean, 
your own?' N.M: `I pointed out in my book-and this may be my one, more or less, original contribution-the 
danger of thinking that the best theory is ipso facto a good theory. I call this the best-in-the-field fallacy 
and it has proved to be more important than I realized at the time. If you have several competing theories and one 
is a little better than another, as Darwinism is considered a little better than Lamarckism or than the Hopeful 
Monster, there's a great tendency, a strong temptation, to think that it's a little better than another theory that 
won't hold any water whatsoever. It's still no good, and I've found numerous cases where people support 
theories simply because they are the best in the field although they are obviously no good.'" (Macbeth, N., 
"Darwinism: A Time for Funerals," Interviewed by Clifford Monk of Towards magazine, Robert Briggs 
Associates: San Francisco CA, 1982, p.26)

30/01/2006
"The traditional universe was extremely short-lived since the six days of creation were supposed to have 
occurred only a few thousand years ago. In the seventeenth century, Archbishop James Ussher tried to calculate 
the date of creation by working back through the biblical patriarchs to Adam and fixed the year as 4004 B.C. John 
Lightfoot, vice-chancellor of Cambridge University, declared that the final act by which man was created took 
place at nine o'clock on the morning of Sunday, October 23, 4004 B.C. Modern creationists do not fix the date 
quite so precisely but still insist that the earth was formed only a few thousand years ago. By the standards of 
modern science, these estimates are trivial: geologists and cosmologists now put the earth's age at between four 
and five billion years. This vast extension of the time scale took place gradually, as geologists learned more 
about the extent of the changes that have taken place on the earth's surface. Frequent efforts were made to limit 
the amount of extra time required by geological theory. But already by Darwin's time, no educated person 
doubted that the earth was at least some millions of years old. (The creationist challenge on this issue is strictly a 
twentieth-century phenomenon.) The whole issue was made particularly sensitive by the fact that 
paleontologists found no evidence for the existence of man except in the most recent geological past, thus 
reducing human history and prehistory to but a moment in the vast panorama of the earth's development." 
(Bowler, P.J., "Evolution: The History of an Idea," [1983], University of California Press: Berkeley CA, Revised 
edition, 1989, pp.4-5)

30/01/2006
"The traditional world view was essentially static. In the six days of creation, God formed the world just as we see 
it today, including the plants, animals, and man himself. ... In the organic world, at least, the traditional view 
assumes that there cannot be any change because the forces of nature can only maintain the original forms 
created by God-they are not by themselves creative. This assumption was not derived purely from biblical 
authority but was backed up by the synthesis of Christianity with the philosophy inherited by the medieval 
world from the ancient Greeks. The views of Aristotle, in particular, were regarded as an important foundation of 
the belief that each species has a typical form maintained by the process of reproduction from one generation to 
the next. The hierarchy of natural forms stretching from the most primitive up to man-the `chain of being'-
represented a complete and hence absolutely fixed plan of creation." (Bowler, P.J., "Evolution: The History of an 
Idea," [1983], University of California Press: Berkeley CA, Revised edition, 1989, p.5)

30/01/2006
"The Elimination of Design. The intention of creationism is not just to preserve a role for direct supernatural 
intervention in the origin of species but also to uphold the belief that each form of life has been designed by its 
Creator. In the classic form of the `argument from design' popular among naturalists until the early nineteenth 
century, the complexity of each specific form and its careful adaptation to the organism's way of life was held to 
be direct evidence of the Creator's wisdom and benevolence. Unaided nature never could have produced such 
structures; therefore, divine will had to be invoked as the only reasonable explanation of their existence. The 
belief that the structure or development of natural forms can only be explained by the purpose they are 
supposed to fulfill is known as `teleology.' The whole thrust of modern evolutionism has been to eliminate the 
need for a supernatural purpose in accounting for the present structure of living things. Darwin conceived his 
mechanism of natural selection to show that everyday forces of nature can adapt each species to its ever-
changing environment, without the need to suppose that the process is intended to achieve some predetermined 
goal. At an even more basic level, modern biologists also believe that natural processes can account for the 
origin of life from nonliving matter, by a process of "chemical evolution" leading to ever more complex physical 
structures that eventually take on the properties of life." (Bowler, P.J., "Evolution: The History of an Idea," 
[1983], University of California Press: Berkeley CA, Revised edition, 1989, pp.5-6. Emphasis original)

30/01/2006
"It is important to note that the argument from design can exist independently of the biblical creation story. 
Many nineteenth-century paleontologists accepted the supernatural origin of new species and invoked the 
argument from design, although they believed that production of new forms had occurred at various stages in 
the earth's history. At a rather subtler level, it is also possible to argue that the Creator intended the 
present structure of the earth to emerge from the original form in which He created the universe. In Descartes's 
interpretation of the "mechanical philosophy," the earth was formed by natural means from matter distributed in 
space-but because God created both the original distribution and the laws that govern the behavior of matter, He 
had clearly foreseen the end product and could thus be said to have designed the evolutionary process itself. 
Even Darwin accepted the concept that God had established the general laws by which life evolves, although he 
was forced to concede that the details of what happened were not the result of divine forethought." (Bowler, P.J., 
"Evolution: The History of an Idea," [1983], University of California Press: Berkeley CA, Revised edition, 1989, 
p.6)

30/01/2006
"The Elimination of Miracles The Genesis story of creation is clearly meant to uphold the belief that the 
Almighty not only designed all things in the universe but played a direct and personal role in supervising their 
formation. The biblical concept of miracle, however, does not confine the Creator's activity to the beginning-it 
allows Him to intervene from time to time throughout the continuing history of the world. Paralleling this, we 
have already noted that some early paleontologists were willing to admit divine intervention at the beginning of 
each geological period to account for the appearance of new species. Biological evolution, however, is intended 
to exclude any role for supernatural intervention in the world because it assumes that natural forces by 
themselves are sufficient to create new species. In the eyes of Darwin and his followers, it was only by accepting 
this policy of `naturalism' that the question of the origin of species could be opened up to scientific 
investigation. To appeal to the supernatural as soon as one reached the limits of existing natural explanations 
was to close off the route to any further research that might generate more satisfactory hypotheses. Miracles are 
by definition arbitrary violations of the normal laws of nature and as such cannot be studied by the methods of 
science. To admit their occurrence in order to explain the origin of certain structures in the world is to concede 
that a phenomenon lies forever beyond our comprehension-unless we accept the dictates of supernatural 
revelation." " (Bowler, P.J., "Evolution: The History of an Idea," [1983], University of California Press: Berkeley 
CA, Revised edition, 1989, pp.6-7. Emphasis original)

30/01/2006
"The elimination of the supernatural was, however, no more straightforward than the elimination of design. The 
mechanical philosophy mentioned earlier eliminated the need for supernatural agencies except at the very be 
ginning of the universe but retained design by supposing that the Creator intended the laws of nature to produce 
the results we observe. This view compared the universe to a gigantic piece of clockwork, built by the `clock-
maker God' to run on inexorably toward its intended goal. There would be no need for God to concern Himself 
with His creation once it was formed-the religious philosophy known as `deism.' Many religious thinkers, by 
contrast, believe that God must be involved with the universe at all times-the philosophy of `theism.' It may even 
be supposed that the laws of nature continue to operate only because they are upheld by His will. In this case it 
will be less easy to make a clear distinction between laws of nature and miracles because both equally are 
manifestations of divine power, one operating continuously, the other at irregular intervals. Some nineteenth-
century scientists tried to argue that there must be special `laws of creation' by which God continues to shape 
the development of life, laws that could anticipate future goals and work toward them because they embodied 
divine foresight. To Darwin, such a concept of law was worse than a miracle because it allowed the 
nonmechanical aspects of the supernatural to interfere continually with the regular operations of nature. For 
science to be possible, it was necessary to conceive the laws of nature so that they operated solely in a 
mechanical fashion, allowing the past (but not the future) to control the present by the normal rules of causality. 
To introduce God's foresight as the explanation of an evolutionary trend was just as much an abrogation of the 
scientist's duty to search for natural causes as was the more simpleminded appeal to miracles." (Bowler, P.J., 
"Evolution: The History of an Idea," [1983], University of California Press: Berkeley CA, Revised edition, 1989, 
p.7)

31/01/2006
"Mycoplasma genitalium has the smallest genome of any organism that can be grown in pure 
culture. It has a minimal metabolism and little genomic redundancy. Consequently, its genome is expected to 
be a close approximation to the minimal set of genes needed to sustain bacterial life. Using global 
transposon mutagenesis, we isolated and characterized gene disruption mutants for 100 different 
nonessential protein-coding genes. None of the 43 RNA-coding genes were disrupted. Herein, we identify 
382 of the 482 M. genitalium protein-coding genes as essential, plus five sets of disrupted genes that 
encode proteins with potentially redundant essential functions, such as phosphate transport. Genes 
encoding proteins of unknown function constitute 28% of the essential protein-coding genes set. 
Disruption of some genes accelerated M. genitalium growth." (Glass, J.I., et al., "Essential genes of a 
minimal bacterium," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, Vol. 103, No. 2, 
January 10, 2006, pp.425-430)

* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed not to be evolutionists. However, lack of
an asterisk does not necessarily mean that an author is an evolutionist.

[top]


Copyright © 2005-2010, by Stephen E. Jones. All rights reserved. These my quotes may be used
for non-commercial purposes only and may not be used in a book, ebook, CD, DVD, or any other
medium except the Internet, without my written permission. If used on the Internet, a link back
to this page would be appreciated.
Created: 29 December, 2005. Updated: 16 April, 2010.

HTML>