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The following are quotes added to my Unclassified Quotes database in March 2006. The date format is dd/mm/yy. See copyright conditions at end.
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1/03/2006 "... many animals behave in incredibly complicated and mysterious ways. ... These are marvels, beyond any doubt; but there is no compelling reason to regard them as adaptations. Each is a tour de force by a virtuoso, but the virtuoso seems to be exercising his own fantasy rather than adapting himself to mundane conditions in a utilitarian way. The books are full of examples of this virtuoso work, which is especially common among insects. I will set out one case at length to show how many refinements there can be and how the whole performance shows a master hand. In early summer the small wasplike Eumenes amedei of northern Africa and southern Europe emerges from the pupal state as an elegant insect with yellow and black bands. Soon after mating, the female prepares a house in which her young can develop and sufficient food can be stored. She chooses an exposed and sunny situation on a rock or wall, and builds a circular fence of small stones and mortar, the mortar being made from dry flinty dust mixed with her own saliva. The stones are chosen with care, flint being preferred to limestone, and the fragments selected are all much the same size. Her choice of the most polished quartz fragments suggests (if we are anthropomorphic) that she is not indifferent to the esthetic effect of her handiwork. As the wall grows higher, the builder slopes it toward the center and so makes a dome which, when finished, is about the size of a small cherry. A hole is left at the top, and on this is built a funneled mouthpiece of cement. The next task is to collect the food supply for the future grub. This consists of small caterpillars about half an inch long, palish green, and covered with white hairs. These caterpillars are partially paralyzed by the sting of the Eumenes and are unable to make any violent effort to escape. They are stored on the floor of the cell. Since they remain alive, they keep fresh until the grub is ready to eat them; if they were killed outright, their flesh would soon dry up or rot. When the cell is stocked, a single egg is laid in each house, and the mouthpiece at the top of the cell is closed with a cement plug, into which a pebble is set. The egg is not laid upon or among the caterpillars, as in many allied species. These caterpillars are only partially paralyzed, and can still move their claws and champ their jaws. Should one of them feel the nibblings of the tiny grub, it might writhe about and injure the grub. Both the egg and the grub must be protected, and to this tend the egg is suspended by tiny thread of silk fastened to the roof. The caterpillars may wriggle and writhe, but they cannot come near it. When the grub emerges from the egg, it devours its eggshell) then spins for itself a tiny silken ribbon- sheath in which it is enfolded tail-uppermost and with head hanging down. In this retreat it is suspended above the pile of living food. It can lower itself far enough to nibble at the caterpillars. If they stir too violently, it can withdraw into its silken sheath, wait until the commotion has subsided, then descend again to its meal. As the grub grows in size and strength, it becomes bolder; the silken retreat is no longer required; it can venture down and live at its ease among the remains of its food. The stone cells are not all stored with the same wealth of caterpillars. Some contain five and some ten. The young females, larger than the males, need twice as much food. But note that the cells are stocked before the eggs are laid, and that biologists generally believe that the sex is already determined when an egg is laid. How does the Eumenes know the future sex of her eggs? How is it that she never makes a mistake? (Macbeth N., "Darwin Retried: An Appeal to Reason," Gambit: Boston MA, 1971, pp70-72) 1/03/2006 "Dr. Alan Feduccia, professor and chair of biology at UNC-CH. ... has been a strong critic of the belief that dinosaurs gave rise to birds. `The theory that birds descended from dinosaurs has become dogma in the past 20 years or so, and yet a large number of people do not accept it because there are insurmountable problems with that theory,' Feduccia said. `First, there is the time problem in that superficially bird-like dinosaurs occurred some 30 million to 80 million years after the earliest known bird, which is 150 million years old.' ... Second, flesh-eating dinosaurs thought to have given rise to birds were large earth-bound creatures with heavy balancing tails and short forelimbs. This is absolutely the worse body plan for the evolution of bird flight.' Third, he said, if one views a chicken skeleton and a dinosaur skeleton through binoculars they appear similar, but close and detailed examination reveals many differences. Theropod dinosaurs, for example, had curved, serrated teeth, but the earliest birds had straight, unserrated peg-like teeth. All dinosaurs had a major joint in the lower jaw that early birds did not. Birds have a reversed rear toe that opposes the front three toes and allows birds to perch. Dinosaurs had no reversed toe. Birds grow a girdle of bone in their chests quite different from dinosaur chests. The new work involved microscopic examination of early limb development in ostriches, chickens, cormorants, alligators and turtles and comparison of chick fore- and hindlimbs. `We know that dinosaurs developed `hands' with digits one, two and three -- which are the same as the thumb, index and middle fingers of humans -- because digits four and five remain as tiny bumps or vestiges on early dinosaur skeletons,' Feduccia said. `Apparently dinosaurs developed a very specialized, almost unique `hand' for grasping and raking. `Our studies of bird embryos, however, show that only digits two, three and four develop, and this creates a new problem,' he said. `How do you derive a bird `hand,' for example, with digits two, three and four from a dinosaur hand that has only digits one, two and three' The answer is that you can't.' Findings from the examination of alligator and turtle embryos were consistent with those of birds, the biologist added. Far more likely is that birds and dinosaurs had a much older common ancestor, he said. Many superficial similarities between birds and dinosaurs arose because both groups developed body designs for walking upright on two hind legs and began to resemble each other over millions of years. `The dinosaurian origin of birds is based on sloppy science,' Feduccia said. `It is a fantasy by which one believes it's possible vicariously to study dinosaurs at the backyard bird feeder.' In an accompanying commentary in Science titled `The Forward March of the Bird-Dinosaur Halted?', Dr. Richard Hinchliffe of the University of Wales said the new report calls into question the dinosaurs-to-birds idea and is a forceful statement of the opposing theory. `...The present paper gives the developmental evidence a sharp focus which makes it a timely contribution to current debate on bird origins,' wrote Hinchliffe, the world authority on vertebrate limb development. `This convincing evidence of 2-3-4 wing digit identity will not be to the liking of ... supporters of a dinosaur origin of birds. `For the time being, this important developmental evidence that birds have a 2-3-4 digital formula, unlike the dinosaur 1-2-3, is the most important barrier to belief in the dinosaur-origin orthodoxy." ("Embryo Studies Show Dinosaurs Could Not Have Given Rise To Modern Birds," ScienceDaily, October 27, 1997) 1/03/2006 "Wings and the Flight Mechanism. Insects share the power of flight with birds and flying mammals. However, their wings have evolved in a different manner from that of the limb buds of birds and mammals and are not homologous with them. Insect wings are formed by outgrowth from the body wall of the mesothoracic and metathoracic segments and are composed of cuticle. Most insects have two pairs of wings, but the Diptera (true flies) have only one pair, the hindwings being represented by a pair of small halteres (balancers) that vibrate and are responsible for equilibrium during flight. Males in the order Strepsiptera have only the hind pair of wings and an anterior pair of halteres. The males of scale insects also have one pair of wings but no halteres. Some insects are wingless. Ants and termites, for example, have wings only on males, and on females during certain periods; workers are always wingless. Lice and fleas are always wingless. Wings may be thin and membranous, as in flies and many others; thick and horny, as in the forewings of beetles; parchment-like, as in the forewings of grasshoppers; covered with fine scales, as in butterflies and moths; or with hairs, as in caddis flies. Wing movements are controlled by a complex of muscles in the thorax. Direct flight muscles are attached to a part of the wing itself. Indirect flight muscles are not attached to the wing and cause wing movement by altering the shape of the thorax. The wing is hinged at the thoracic tergum. and also slightly laterally on a pleural process, which acts as a fulcrum, In all insects, the upstroke of the wing is effected by contracting indirect muscles that pull the tergum down toward the sternum. Dragonflies and cockroaches accomplish the downstroke by contracting direct muscles attached to the wings lateral to the pleural fulcrum. In Hymenoptera and Diptera all flight muscles are indirect. The downstroke occurs when the sternotergal muscles relax and longitudinal muscles of the thorax arch the tergum, pulling the tergal articulations upward relative to the pleura. The downstroke in beetles and grasshoppers involves both direct and indirect muscles. Contraction of flight muscles has two basic types of neural control: synchronous and asynchronous. Larger insects such as dragonflies and butterflies have synchronous muscles, in which a single volley of nerve impulses stimulates a muscle contraction and thus one wing stroke. Asynchronous muscles are found in the more specialized insects. Their mechanism of action is complex and depends on the storage of potential energy in resilient parts of the thoracic cuticle. As one set of muscles contracts (moving the wing in one direction), they stretch the antagonistic set of muscles, causing them to contract (and move the wing in the other direction). Because the muscle contractions are not phase- related to nervous stimulation, only occasional nerve impulses are necessary to keep the muscles responsive to alternating stretch activation. Thus extremely rapid wing beats are possible. For example, butterflies (with synchronous muscles) may beat as few as four times per second. Insects with asynchronous muscles, such as flies and bees, may vibrate at 100 beats per second or more. The fruit fly Drosophila ... can fly at 300 beats per second, and midges have been clocked at more than 1000 beats per second! Obviously flying entails more than a simple flapping of wings; a forward thrust is necessary. As the indirect flight muscles alternate rhythmically to raise and lower the wings, the direct flight muscles alter the angle of the wings so that they act as liftifoils during both the upstroke and the downstroke, twisting the leading edge of the wings downward during the downstroke and upward during the upstroke. This modulation produces a figure-eight movement that aids in spilling air from the trailing edges of the wings. The quality of the forward thrust depends, of course, on several factors, such as variations in wing venation, how much the wings are tilted, and how they are feathered. Flight speeds vary. The fastest flyers usually have narrow, fast-moving wings with a strong tilt and a strong figure-eight component. Sphinx moths and horse flies are said to achieve approximately 48 km (30 miles) per hour and dragonflies approximately 40 km (25 miles) per hour. Some insects are capable of long continuous flights. The migrating monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus ... travels south for hundreds of miles in the fall, flying at a speed of approximately 10 km (6 miles) per hour." (Hickman C.P., Jr., Roberts L.S. & Larson A., "Animal Diversity," , McGraw-Hill: Boston MA, Second Edition, 2000, pp.216-218. References removed. Emphasis original) 5/03/2006 "In the second place, it was inevitable that a theory appearing to have very grave relations with questions of the most importance and interest to man, that is, with questions of religious belief, should call up an army of assailants and defenders. Nor have the supporters Of the theory much reason, in many cases, to blame the more or less unskilful and hasty attacks of adversaries, seeing that those attacks have been in great part due to the unskilful and perverse advocacy of the cause on the part of some of its adherents. If the odium theologicum has inspired some of its opponents, it is undeniable that the odium- antitheologicum, has possessed not a few of its supporters. It is true (and in appreciating some of Mr. Darwin's expressions it should never be forgotten) that the theory has been both at its first promulgation and since vehemently attacked and denounced as unchristian, nay, as necessarily atheistic; but it is not less true that it has been made use of as a weapon of offence by irreligious writers, and has been again and again, especially in continental Europe, thrown, as it were, in the face of believers, with sneers and contumely. " (Mivart St.G.J., "On the Genesis of Species," Macmillan & Co: London & New York , Second edition, 1871, pp.13-14) 5/03/2006 "There do exist a few types of systems in the world where one sees an apparent increase In order, superficially offsetting the decay tendency specified by the Second Law. Examples are the growth of a seed into a tree, the growth of a fetus into an adult animal, and the growth of a pile of bricks and girders into a building. Now, if one examines closely all such systems to see what it is that enables them to supersede the Second Law locally and temporarily (in each case, of course, the phenomenon is only ephemeral, since the organism eventually dies and the building eventually collapses), he will find in every case, at least two essential criteria that must be satisfied: (a) There must be a program to direct the growth. A growth process which proceeds by random accumulations will not lead to an ordered structure but merely a heterogeneous blob. Some kind of pattern, blueprint or code must be there to begin with, or no ordered growth can take place. In the case of the organism this is the intricately complex genetic program, structured as an information system into the DNA molecule for the particular organism. In the case of the building, it is the set of plans prepared by the architects and engineers. (b) There must be a power converter to energize the growth. The available environmental energy is of no avail unless it can be converted into the specific forms needed to organize and bond the components into the complex and ordered structure of the completed system. Unless such a mechanism is available, the environmental energy more likely will break down any structure already present. "We have seen that organization requires work for its maintenance and that the universal quest for food is in part to provide the energy needed for the work. But the simple expenditure of energy is not sufficient to develop and maintain order. A bull in a china shop performs work, but he neither creates nor maintains organization. The work needed is particular work; it must follow specifications; it requires information on how to proceed." [Simpson G.G. & Beck W.S., " Life: An Introduction to Biology," Harcourt, Brace & World: New York, Second edition, 1965, p.466] In the case of a seed, one of the required energy conversion mechanisms is the marvelous process called photosynthesis, which by some incompletely understood complex of reactions converts sunlight into the building of the plant's structure. In the animal numerous complex mechanisms-digestion, blood circulation, respiration, etc.-combine to transform food into body structure. In the case of the building, fossil fuels and human labor operate numerous complex electrical and mechanical devices to erect the structure. And so on. Now the question again is, not whether there is enough energy reaching the earth from the sun to support evolution, but rather how this energy is converted into evolution? The evolutionary process, if it exists, is by far the greatest growth process of all. If a directing code and specific conversion mechanism are essential for all lesser growth processes, then surely an infinitely more complex code and more specific energy converter are required for the evolutionary process. But what are they? The answer is that no such code and mechanism have ever been identified. Where in all the universe does one find a plan which sets forth how to organize random particles into particular people? And where does one see a marvelous motor which converts the continual flow of solar radiant energy bathing the earth into the work of building chemical elements into replicating cellular systems, or of organizing populations of worms into populations of men, over vast spans of geologic time?" (Morris H.M.*, "Scientific Creationism," , Master Books: El Cajon CA, Second Edition, 1985, pp.43-45. Emphasis original) 6/03/2006 "The process of mutation supplies only the building blocks, the. raw, materials, from which evolutionary changes, including species differences, are compounded by natural selection. Mutation is, then, the ultimate source of evolution, but there is more to evolution than mutation. It will be shown in the concluding pages of the present chapter that mutation is a random process with respect to the adaptive needs of the species. Therefore, mutation alone, uncontrolled by natural selection, would result in the breakdown and eventual extinction of life, not in adaptive or progressive evolution. " (Dobzhansky T.G., "Genetics and the Origin of Species," , Columbia University Press: New York NY, 1982, reprint, p.65) 6/03/2006 "I would suggest an opposite view-that atavisms teach an important lesson about potential results of small genetic changes, and that they suggest an unconventional approach to the problem of major transitions in evolution. In the traditional view, major transitions are a summation of the small changes that adapt populations ever more finely to their local environments. Several evolutionists, myself included, have become dissatisfied with this vision of smooth extrapolation. Must one group always evolve from another through all insensibly graded series of intermediate forms? Must evolution proceed gene by gene, each tiny change producing a correspondingly small alteration of external appearance? The fossil record rarely records smooth transitions, and it is often difficult even to imagine a function for all hypothetical intermediates between ancestors and their highly modified descendants. One promising solution to this dilemma recognizes that certain kinds of small genetic changes may have major, discontinuous effects upon morphology. We can make no one-to-one translation between extent of genetic change and degree of alteration in external form. Genes are not attached to independent bits of the body, each responsible for building one small item. Genetic systems are arranged hierarchically; controllers and master switches often activate large blocks of genes. Small changes in the timing of action for these controllers often translate into major and discontinuous alterations of external form." (Gould S.J., "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes," in "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1986, reprint, pp.180-181) 6/03/2006 "The current challenge to traditional gradualistic accounts of evolutionary transitions will take root only if genetic systems contain extensive, hidden capacities for expressing small changes as large effects. Atavisms provide the most striking demonstration of this principle that I know. If genetic systems were beanbags of independent items, each responsible for building a single part of the body, then evolutionary change could only occur piece by piece. But genetic systems are integrated products of an organism's history, and they retain extensive, latent capacities that can often be released by small changes. Horses have never lost the genetic information for producing side toes even though their ancestors settled on a single toe several million years ago. What else might their genetic system maintain, normally unexpressed, but able to serve, if activated, as a possible focus for major and rapid evolutionary change? Atavisms reflect the enormous, latent capacity of genetic systems, not primarily the constraints and limitations imposed by an organism's past." (Gould S.J., "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes," in "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1986, reprint, pp.181-182) 6/03/2006 "My latent interest in atavism was recently kindled by a report of something that has no right to exist if one of our most venerable similes expresses literal truthhen's teeth. On February 29, 1980 ... E.J Kollar and C. Fisher reported an ingenious technique for coaxing chickens to reveal some surprising genetic flexibility retained from a distant past. They took epithelial (outer) tissue from the first and second gill arches of a fiveday-old chick embryo and combined it with mesenchyme (inner embryonic tissue) of sixteen- to eighteen-day-old mouse embryos taken from the region where first molar teeth form. ... Kollar and Fisher took the combined embryonic tissue of mouse and chicken and grew it in ... the anterior chambers of the eyes of adult nude mice ... In ordinary teeth, made by a single animal, the outer enamel layer forms from epithelial tissue and the underlying dentin and bone from mesenchyme. But mesenchyme cannot form dentin (although it can produce bone) unless it can interact directly with epithelium destined to form enamel. (In embryological jargon, epithelium is a necessary inducer, although only mesenchyme can form dentin.) When Kollar and Fisher grafted mouse mesenchyme alone into the eyes of their experimental animals, no dentin developed, but only spongy bone-the normal product of mesenchyme when deprived of contact with enamel epithelium as an inducer. But among fifty-five combined grafts of mouse mesenchyme and chick epithelium, ten produced dentin. Thus, chick epithelium is still capable of inducing mesenchyme (from another species in another vertebrate class yet!) to form dentin. Archaeopteryx, the first bird, still possessed teeth, as did several fossils from the early history of birds. But no fossil bird has produced teeth during the past sixty million years, while the toothlessness of all modern birds ranks with wings and feathers as defining characters of the class. Nonetheless, although the system has not been used on its home ground for perhaps a hundred million generations, chick epithelium can still induce the formation of dentin when combined with appropriate mesenchyme (chick mesenchyme itself has probably lost the ability to form dentin, hence the toothlessness of hens and the necessity for using mice). Kollar and Fisher then found something even more interesting. In four of their grafts, complete teeth had developed! Chick epithelium had not only induced mouse mesenchyme to form dentin; it had also been able to generate enamel matrix proteins. (Dentin must be induced by epithelium, but this epithelium cannot differentiate into enamel unless it, in turn, can interact with the very dentin it has induced. Since chick mesenchyme cannot form dentin, chick epithelium never gets the chance to show its persistent stuff in nature.) ... Kollar and Fisher write of their best tooth: `The entire tooth structure was well formed, with root development in proper relation to the crown, but the latter did not have the typical first-molar morphology, since it lacked the cusp pattern usually present in intraocular grafts of first-molar rudiments.' In other words, the tooth looks normal, but it does not have the form of a mouse's molar. The odd form may, of course, simply result from the peculiar interaction of two systems not meant to be joined in nature. But is it possible that we are seeing, in part, the actual form of a latent bird's tooth-the potential structure that chick epithelium has encoded for sixty million years but has not expressed in the absence of dentin to induce it?" (Gould S.J., "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes," in "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1986, reprint, pp.183-184) 6/03/2006 "Developmental patterns of an organism's past persist in latent form. Chicks no longer develop teeth because their own mesenchyme does not form dentin, even though their epithelium can still produce enamel and induce dentin in other animals. ... An organism's past not only constrains its future; it also provides as legacy an enormous reservoir of potential for rapid morphological change based upon small genetic alterations." (Gould S.J., "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes," in "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1986, reprint, pp.185-186) 7/03/2006 "The hidden drama of Westminster Abbey hosting the remains of a man who tore the heart out of religion must be one of the great ironies of the clash of ideas. Whichever way we turn there is no escape from the godless explanation of the origin of life and of humans by natural processes, explicable by the scientific method. This does not mean that people had to abandon their belief in the supernatural, but that the central mystery of our origins, which had fed religious belief for tens of millennia, had finally been superseded. After your noble efforts, there could be no turning back from the scientific evidence that the world and all it contains can be explained in natural terms. The myriad forms of life around us carry in their structures and activities the history of their own making." (Dover G.A., "Dear Mr Darwin: Letters on the Evolution of Life and Human Nature," , University of California Press: Berkeley CA, 2000, reprint, pp.197-198) 7/03/2006 "There is an interesting link, which I will mention but not develop, between militant atheism and the false notion of the eternal gene. The belief in the eternal gene cannot be sustained alongside a belief in an eternalized 'God'. It requires the belief in the supernatural to be relentlessly destroyed and removed from all rational minds. The vehemence with which this anti-religious war is waged, by well-known advocates such as Richard Dawkins, must be connected with the belief in the eternalized gene. There seems to be as much religious fervour devoted to the false notion of the self-replicating gene as there is to the earlier notion of an eternally operating, supernatural originator of our natural world. One misconception has simply replaced another. And as with all religions, there has to be a head of the Church and a source of received and exclusive wisdom. And this, you may be shocked to hear, is your true self and your process of natural selection." (Dover G.A., "Dear Mr Darwin: Letters on the Evolution of Life and Human Nature," , University of California Press: Berkeley CA, 2000, reprint, p.199) 7/03/2006 "The following quote, you might agree, is the nearest we get in science to the transformation of a working, historical process into a religious non-scientific mantra: 'The theory of evolution by cumulative natural selection is the only theory we know of that is, in principle, capable of explaining the existence of organised complexity. Even if the evidence did not favour it, it would still be the best theory available' (Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker). I love that bit 'even if the evidence did not favour it'. No wonder there is no room for the other concept where no evidence is needed, that of 'God'." (Dover G.A., "Dear Mr Darwin: Letters on the Evolution of Life and Human Nature," , University of California Press: Berkeley CA, 2000, reprint, p.199) 8/03/2006 "The simplest interpretation of the carbon isotopic data in Mojzsis et al. (1996) is that the organisms responsible for the light carbon signature in the oldest known terrestrial sediments were metabolically complex, perhaps comprising populations of phosphate-utilizing photoautotrophs and chemoautotrophs. These data may point to the presence of diverse photosynthesizing, methanogenic, and methylotrophic bacteria on Earth before 3850 Ma (Mojzsis and Arrhenius, 1998; Mojzsis et al., 1999b). Not only had life taken firm hold on Earth by the close of the Hadean era, but it also appears to have evolved far enough away from its origin to create an interpretable signature in carbon isotopes." (Mojzsis S.J. & Harrison T.M., "Vestiges of a Beginning: Clues to the Emergent Biosphere Recorded in the Oldest Known Sedimentary Rocks," GSA Today, Vol. 10, No. 4, April 2000) 8/03/2006 "Early Earth was likely dominated by markedly different hydrospheric (e.g., lower pH, much higher [Fe2 ]aq) and atmospheric (e.g., much lower pO2, much higher pCO2) conditions (Holland, 1984) and a tectonic style reflecting higher heat flow through the crust than at present. Several factors were unique to the early Archean surface, including a higher ultraviolet flux from a Sun 30% less luminous at 3800 Ma than today (Kuhn et al., 1989) and impact rates from asteroids and comets many orders of magnitude greater. Together, these conditions would presumably have restricted the number of suitable environments for life to emerge. The minimum ages of some of the oldest Greenland rocks (Nutman et al., 1996, 1997) appear to overlap in time with a period of intense impacts peaking at 3850 ± 100 Ma as recorded on the Moon (Ryder, 1990). Thermal and shock effects associated with the Late Heavy Bombardment era (Tera et al., 1974) are presumed to have rendered early Earth unsuitable for the emergence of life until after the massive bombardments ceased (e.g., Maher and Stevenson, 1988). During this bombardment era, conditions may have favored the survival of certain bacteria that survive (and even thrive) in environmental extremes of temperature, pressure, and pH before diversifying into wider ecological niches throughout the planet. Phylogenetic studies using highly conservative ribosomal RNA sequences reveal that the deepest branches of life derive from "heat-loving," or thermophilic, bacteria (Pace, 1997). Such organisms could have survived thermal assaults from giant impacts, especially if sequestered deep in the oceans or in rocks away from a destructive surface zone bathed both in the intense ultraviolet radiation of the early Sun and a rain of extraterrestrial debris ~4 b.y. ago." (Mojzsis S.J. & Harrison T.M., "Vestiges of a Beginning: Clues to the Emergent Biosphere Recorded in the Oldest Known Sedimentary Rocks," GSA Today, Vol. 10, No. 4, April 2000) 8/03/2006 "Prochlorococcus marinus, the dominant photosynthetic organism in the ocean, is found in two main ecological forms: high-light-adapted genotypes in the upper part of the water column and low-light-adapted genotypes at the bottom of the illuminated layer. P. marinus SS120, the complete genome sequence reported here, is an extremely low-light-adapted form. The genome of P. marinus SS120 is composed of a single circular chromosome of 1,751,080 bp with an average G C content of 36.4%. It contains 1,884 predicted protein-coding genes with an average size of 825 bp, a single rRNA operon, and 40 tRNA genes. Together with the 1.66-Mbp genome of P. marinus MED4, the genome of P. marinus SS120 is one of the two smallest genomes of a photosynthetic organism known to date. It lacks many genes that are involved in photosynthesis, DNA repair, solute uptake, intermediary metabolism, motility, phototaxis, and other functions that are conserved among other cyanobacteria. Systems of signal transduction and environmental stress response show a particularly drastic reduction in the number of components, even taking into account the small size of the SS120 genome. In contrast, housekeeping genes, which encode enzymes of amino acid, nucleotide, cofactor, and cell wall biosynthesis, are all present. Because of its remarkable compactness, the genome of P. marinus SS120 might approximate the minimal gene complement of a photosynthetic organism." (Dufresne A., et al., "Genome sequence of the cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus marinus SS120, a nearly minimal oxyphototrophic genome," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 100, No. 17, August 19, 2003, pp.10020-10025) 8/03/2006 "Surely our ideas about the origin of life will have to change radically with the passage of time. Not only is the gene itself a problem: think of the systems that would have to come into being to produce a living cell! It's nice to talk about replicating DNA molecules arising in the soupy sea, but in modern cells this replication requires the presence of suitable enzymes. Furthermore, DNA by itself accomplishes nothing. Its only reason for existence is the information that it carries and that is used in the production of a protein enzyme. At the moment, the link between DNA and the enzyme is a highly complex one, involving RNA and an enzyme for its synthesis on a DNA template; ribosomes; enzymes to activate amino acids; and transfer-RNA molecules. Yet selection acts only upon phenotypes and not upon genes. At this level, the phenotype is the enzyme itself. How, in the absence of the final enzyme, could selection act upon DNA and all the mechanisms for replicating it? It's as though everything must happen at once: the entire system must come into being as one unit, or it is worthless. There may well be ways out of this dilemma, but I don't see them at the moment." (Salisbury F.B., "Doubts About the Modern Synthetic Theory of Evolution," The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 33, September 1971, pp.335-338, 354) 8/03/2006 "But will changes in gene frequencies in response to selection pressures account for evolution in the broadest sense: life originating in the ancient soupy seas and developing over eons of time until the earth is covered with flowering plants and thinking men? Only if there is a continual source of new genes for selection to act upon. If, somewhere back in the dim reaches of time, a cell evolved the process of photo-synthesis, it is because, according to the present theory, the proper genes and their enzymes were there for selection to act upon. Could random changes in the nucleotide sequences of DNA (mutations) provide these genes and ultimately the enzymes? At the moment, I doubt it, and my reasons for doubting are based upon discoveries during the past 20 years that have indicated to us how really complex living systems are. We have known for a long time that man's body is an intricate and complex machine. Now we know that the cell itself is far more complex than we had imagined. It includes thousands of functioning enzymes, each one of them a complex machine itself. Furthermore, each enzyme comes into being in response to a gene, a strand of DNA. The information content of the gene (its complexity) must be as great as that of the enzyme that it controls. One might begin (as I did) to get the intuitive feeling that genes and enzymes are too complex to originate by randomly changing nucleotide sequences. But intuitive feelings are often wrong and never really satisfying. How can we pin it down?" (Salisbury F.B., "Doubts About the Modern Synthetic Theory of Evolution," The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 33, September 1971, pp.335-338, 354. Emphasis original) 8/03/2006 "My last doubt concerns so-called parallel evolution. In the angiosperms the same features of flower structure have apparently appeared independently several times in unrelated evolutionary lines. Indeed, the problem is so severe that no satisfactory classification scheme for flowering plants has yet been devised. Even something as complex as the eye has appeared several times; for example, in the squid, the vertebrates, and the arthropods. It's bad enough accounting for the origin of such things once, but the thought of producing them several times according to the modern synthetic theory makes my head swim." (Salisbury F.B., "Doubts About the Modern Synthetic Theory of Evolution," The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 33, September 1971, pp.335-338, 354) 9/03/2006 "When the semiconservative model of DNA replication was first proposed in the early 1950s, biologists thought that DNA replication was so complex it could be carried out only by intact cells. A few years later, however, Arthur Kornberg found that an enzyme he had isolated from bacterial cells could copy DNA molecules in a test tube. This enzyme, which he named DNA polymerase, required that a small amount of DNA be initially present to act as a template. In the presence of such a template, DNA polymerase catalyzes the elongation of DNA chains using as substrates the triphosphate deoxynucleoside derivatives of the four bases found in DNA (dATP, dTTP, dGTP, and dCTP). As each of these substrates is incorporated into a newly forming DNA chain, its two terminal phosphate groups are released. Since deoxynucleoside triphosphates are high-energy compounds whose free energy of hydrolysis is comparable to that of ATP, the energy released as these phosphate bonds are broken drives what would otherwise be a thermodynamically unfavorable polymerization reaction. In the DNA polymerase reaction, incoming nucleotides are covalently bonded to the 3' hydroxyl end of the growing DNA chain. Each successive nucleotide is linked to the growing chain by a phosphoester bond between the phosphate group on its 5' carbon and the hydroxyl group on the 3' carbon of the nucleotide added in the previous step .... In other words, chain elongation occurs at the 3' end of a DNA strand and the strand is therefore said to grow in the 5' -> 3' direction." (Becker W.M., Kleinsmith L.J. & Hardin J., "The World of the Cell," , Benjamin/Cummings: San Francisco CA, Fourth edition, 2000, p.540) 9/03/2006 "The Host's Farewell. If, as returning host, I reflect on the whole pilgrimage of which I have been a grateful part, my overwhelming reaction is one of amazement. Amazement not only at the extravaganza of details that we have seen; amazement, too, at the very fact that there are any such details to be had at all, on any planet. The universe could so easily have remained lifeless and simple -just physics and chemistry, just the scattered dust of the cosmic explosion that gave birth to time and space. The fact that it did not -the fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved out of literally nothing is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice. And even that is not the end of the matter. Not only did evolution happen: it eventually led to beings capable of comprehending the process, and even of comprehending the process by which they comprehend it." (Dawkins R., "The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, 2004, p.613) 10/03/2006 "Moreover, in estimating the vehemence of the opposition which has been offered, it should be borne in mind that the views defended by religious writers are, or should be, all-important in their eyes. They could not be expected to view with equanimity the destruction in many minds of `theology, natural and revealed, psychology, and metaphysics;' nor to weigh with calm and frigid impartiality arguments which seemed to them to be fraught with results of the highest moment to mankind, and, therefore, imposing on their consciences strenuous opposition as a first duty. Cool judicial impartiality in them would have been a sign perhaps of intellectual power, but also of a grievous deficiency of generous emotion. It is easy to complain of onesidedness in the views of many who oppose Darwinism in the interest of orthodoxy; but not at all less patent is the intolerance and narrow-mindedness of some of those who advocate it, avowedly or covertly, in the interest of heterodoxy." (Mivart St.G.J., "On the Genesis of Species," Macmillan & Co: London & New York, Second edition, 1871, p.16) 12/03/2006 "Still, in so important a matter, it is to be regretted that he [Darwin] did not take the trouble to distinguish between such merely popular notions [of creation] and those which repose upon some more venerable authority. ... Instead of so doing, he seems to adopt the narrowest notions of his opponents, and, far from endeavouring to expand them, appears to wish to endorse them and to lend to them the weight of his authority. It is thus that Mr. Darwin seems to admit and assume, that the idea of `creation' necessitates a belief in an interference with or dispensation of, natural laws, and that `creation' must be accompanied by arbitrary and unorderly phenomena. None but the crudest conceptions are placed by him to the credit of supporters of the dogma of creation, and is constantly asserted that they, to be consistent, must offer `creative fiats' as explanations of physical phenomena, and be guilty of numerous other such absurdities. It is impossible, therefore, to acquit Mr. Darwin of at least a certain carelessness in this matter ; and the result is, he has the appearance of opposing ideas which he gives no clear evidence of having ever fully appreciated. He is far from being alone in this, and perhaps merely takes up and reiterates, without much consideration, assertions previously put, forth by others." (Mivart St.G.J., "On the Genesis of Species," Macmillan & Co: London & New York , Second edition, 1871, p.18) 12/03/2006 "Nothing could be further from Mr. Darwin's mind than any, however small, intentional misrepresentation; and it is therefore the more unfortunate that he should not have shown any appreciation of a position opposed to his own other than that gross and crude one which he combats so superfluously-that he should appear, even for a moment, to be one of those, of whom there are far too many, who first misrepresent their adversary's view, and then elaborately refute it; who, in fact, erect a doll utterly incapable of self-defence, and then, with a flourish of trumpets and many vigorous strokes, overthrow the helpless dummy they have previously raised. This is what many do who more or less distinctly oppose theism in the interests, as they believe, of physical science; and they often represent, amongst other things, a gross and narrow anthropomorphism as the necessary consequence of views opposed to those which they themselves advocate." (Mivart St.G.J., "On the Genesis of Species," Macmillan & Co: London & New York , Second edition, 1871, p.19) 14/03/2006 "How do they do it? What defenses do these frequently diminutive creatures (many are microbial, although not all - think penguins) mount against environmental conditions that would either pickle or pyrolize you and me? There are two fundamental strategies: erect a barrier against the elements, or change your metabolism. For example, some halophiles protect themselves from a saline environment by increasing the concentration of salts in their innards. With salinity about the same both within and without the cell, the halophile needn't fear that runaway osmosis will drain it of its precious water. If you can't defend against a brutal habitat, you can learn to love it. For example, psychrophiles come equipped with special proteins to adapt their lifestyle to the cold. Some of these proteins act as antifreeze to lower the freezing point of water, to prevent its congealing, expanding, and sundering the cell. Other proteins (enzymes) are specially formulated to ensure that chemistry continues even when the temperature dips to the single digits or lower. Many researchers are looking for ways to exploit the Darwinian inventiveness that has produced these extremophile defense mechanisms. For example, Deinococcus radiodurans, which boasts a highly sophisticated DNA repair shop within its tiny cell walls, is able to recover from exposure to massive doses of molecule-busting, high energy radiation by simply fixing the damage. It's hoped that this talent will prove useful in engineering microbes that can clean up radioactive spills, or possibly even protect us from skin cancer." (Shostak S., "Extremophiles: Not So Extreme?," SPACE.com/SETI Institute, 4 August 2005) 14/03/2006 "Now we will revert simply to the consideration of the theory of `Natural Selection' itself. .. If the theory of Natural Selection can be shown to be quite insufficient to explain any considerable number of important phenomena connected with the origin of species, that theory, as the explanation, must be considered as so far discredited. If other causes than Natural (including sexual) Selection can be proved to have acted-if variation can in any cases be proved to be subject to certain determinations in special directions by different means than Natural Selection, it then becomes antecedently probable that it is so in other cases, and that Natural Selection depends upon, and only supplements, such means; which conception is opposed to the pure Darwinian position." (Mivart St.G.J., "On the Genesis of Species," Macmillan & Co: London & New York , Second edition, 1871, pp.21-22. Emphasis original) 14/03/2006 "Astronomers have detected more than 150 planets orbiting nearby stars, raising hopes of finding another Earth ... But there may be more to finding that `goldilocks' planet, just the right size and distance from its star to match Earth, warns one research team. Last month, an international team reported in Nature that it had detected the smallest extrasolar planet orbiting a normal star yet. Just over five times heavier than Earth, OGLE-2005-BLG-390Lb, is 28,000 light years away. It orbits two-and-a-half times further away from its star than Earth does the sun, and enjoys chilly temperatures of -364 degrees because of the dimness of its star. A few earlier discoveries of similarly-sized `extra solar' planets had also occurred, but all those orbit very close to their stars. But the discoveries show that astronomers are closing in on a planet in the `habitable zone' where temperatures are neither too cold or too hot for life, suggest researchers like Princeton's Bohdan Paczynski, one of the discoverer's of the latest planet. But it may not be so easy, suggests University of Minnesota physicist Renata Wentzcovitch and colleagues in the current Science magazine. For `Super Earth' planets only a few times heavier than Earth, the interior chemistry of the planet's core may have a big effect on whether future space tourists will ever want to vacation there. In the study, the team looked at the `Super Earth' orbiting the star Gliese 876, 15 light years away. The researchers analyzed the chemistry of perovskite, an electronically inert mineral made of oxygen, silicon and magnesium, found in the mantle covering the iron cores of planets. On Earth, there is a thin layer of the stuff in the mantle. Through computer simulations, the study team found the extra gravity of a `Super Earth' (twice as strong on its surface as Earth's) would crush these minerals into new forms, ones that would take on the properties of semi-conductors or metals ...The result there would be enhanced heat flow from the planet's core to the surface, which means more volcanoes and more `planetquakes.' The effects on the planet's magnetic field, which on Earth shields the surface from solar radiation, of increased electrical activity in the mantle are more difficult to figure out, she says. The larger point is there is more to finding another Earth than detecting a planet the same size and same distance from its star, she says. Venus and Earth are very similar, she notes, but have significant differences in their interior chemistry. Venus has a more viscous interior that lead to a planet- sized earthquake hundreds of millions of years ago, she says, and that likely also explains the hellish conditions there, where 800-degree winds are lashed by sulfuric acid rain." (Vergano D., "Finding 'Super Earth' is a 'Goldilocks' errand," USA Today, February 19, 2006) 15/03/2006 "The cubit (Heb. 'amma; Akkad. ammatu; Lat. cubitus) was the distance from elbow to finger tip. This `natural' cubit (AV `cubit of a man', RSV `common cubit', Dt. 3:11) was used to indicate the general size of a person (4 cubits the height of a man; cf. 1 Sa. 17:4; 1 Ch. 11:23) or object (Est. 5:14; Zc. 5:2). It described depth (Gn. 7:20) or distance (Jn. 21:8). A more precisely defined cubit was used for exact measurement. This standard Hebrew cubit was 17.5 inches (44.45 cm), slightly shorter than the common Egyp. cubit of 17.6 inches (44.7 cm). This generally accepted figure compares closely with the length given for the Siloam tunnel as `1,200 cubits', equivalent to a measured 1,749 feet (533.1 m), giving a cubit of 17.49 inches or 44.42 cm. Excavated buildings at Megiddo, Lachish, Gezer and Hazor reveal a plan based on multiples of this measure. Also Solomon's bronze laver of 1,000 bath capacity (i.e. 22,000 litres; 1 Ki. 7:23-26; 2 Ch. 4:2, 5), when calculated for the capacity of a sphere, gives a cubit of 17.51 inches or 44.48 cm (R. B. Y. Scott, JBL 77, 1958, pp. 210-212). The long or `royal' cubit was a handbreadth (`palm') longer than the standard cubit of 6 palms (Ezk. 40:5), i.e. 20.4 inches or 51.81 cm. With this compare the Babylonian cubit of 50.3 cm (of 30 fingers length marked on a statue of Gudea) which was `3 fingers' shorter than the Egyp. cubit of 52.45 cm (Herodotus, Hist. 1. 178). ... The gomed (AV, RSV `cubit') occurs only in Jdg. 3:16, where it measures a weapon, probably a dagger rather than a sword, and has thus been interpreted as a subdivision (perhaps 2/3) of the cubit, or as the short cubit of 5 palms mentioned in the Mishnah. ... The span (zeret), or outstretched hand from the thumb to the little finger (Vulg. wrongly palmus), was a half-cubit (1 Sa. 17:4; Ex. 28:16; Ezk. 43:13), though `half a cubit' could be expressed literally (Ex. 25:10). ... The palm (tepah; topah) or `handbreadth' was the width of the hand at the base of the 4 fingers (hence Vulg. quattuor digitis), i.e. 7.37 cm. Thus was measured the thickness of the bronze laver (I Ki. 7:26 = 2 Ch. 4:5), the edge of the tabernacle table (Ex. 25:25; 37:12), and of that in Ezekiel's Temple (40:5; 43:13). A man's life is but (a few) handbreadths in length (Ps. 39:5)." (Wiseman D.J., "Weights and Measures," in Douglas J.D., et al., eds., "New. Bible Dictionary," , Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester UK, Second edition, 1982, Reprinted, 1988, p.1247) 15/03/2006 "Admitting, then, organic and other evolution, and that new forms of animals and plants (new species, genera, etc.) have from time to time been evolved from preceding animals and plants, it follows, if the views here advocated are true, that this evolution has not taken place by the action of `Natural Selection' alone, but through it (amongst other influences) aided by the concurrent action of some other natural law or laws, at present undiscovered. It is probable also that the genesis of species takes place partly, perhaps mainly, through laws which may be most conveniently spoken of as special powers and tendencies existing in each organism; and partly through influences exerted on each such organism by surrounding conditions and agencies organic and inorganic, terrestrial and cosmical, among which the `survival of the fittest ` plays a certain but subordinate part." (Mivart St.G.J., "On the Genesis of Species," Macmillan & Co: London & New York , Second edition, 1871, p.23. Emphasis original) 15/03/2006 "The difficulties which appear to oppose themselves to the reception of `Natural Selection' or `the survival of the fittest,' as the one explanation of the origin of species, have no doubt been already considered by Mr. Darwin. Nevertheless, it may be worth while to enumerate them, and to state the considerations which appear to give them weight ; and there is no doubt but that a naturalist so candid and careful as the author of the theory in question, will feel obliged, rather than the reverse, by the suggestion of al the difficulties which can be brought against it. What is to be brought forward may be summed up as follows : That `Natural Selection' is incompetent to account for the incipient stages of useful structures. That it does not harmonize with the co-existence of closely similar structures of diverse origin. That there are grounds for thinking that specific differences may be developed suddenly instead of gradually. That the opinion that species have definite though very different limits to their variability is still tenable. That certain fossil transitional forms are absent, which might have been expected to be present. That some facts of geographical distribution intensify other difficulties. That the objection drawn from the physiological difference between `species' and `races' still exists unrefuted. That there are many remarkable phenomena in organic forms upon which `Natural Selection' throws no light whatever, but the explanations of which, if they could be attained, might throw light upon specific origination." (Mivart St.G.J., "On the Genesis of Species," Macmillan & Co: London & New York , Second edition, 1871, pp.24-25) 16/03/2006 "The inconclusiveness of Darwin's argument escaped neither his friends nor his critics. Huxley summed up the matter precisely. `What,' he asked, `does an impartial survey of the positively ascertained truths of paleontology testify in relation to the common doctrines of progressive modification?' To which he frankly replied: `It negatives these doctrines; for it either shows us no evidence of such modification, or demonstrates such modification as has occurred to have been very slight; and, as to the nature of that modification, it yields no evidence whatsoever that the earlier members of any long-continued group were more generalized in structure than the later ones.' [Huxley T.H., "Paleontology and the Doctrine of Evolution," , "Critiques and Addresses," Macmillan: London, 1883, pp.182-83.]" (Himmelfarb G., "Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution," , Elephant Paperbacks: Chicago IL, 1996, reprint, pp.332- 333) 16/03/2006 "At one point in his autobiography Darwin objected to the criticism that he was a good observer but a poor reasoner. The Origin, he protested with justice, was "one long argument from the beginning to the end" and could only have been written by one with "some power of reasoning." [Darwin F., Life and Letters, 1887, I, p.103] He also remarked that he had a "fair share of inventiveness"- which erred only in being too modest. For his essential method was neither observing nor the more prosaic mode of scientific reasoning, but a peculiarly imaginative, inventive mode of argument. It was this that Whewell objected to in the Origin: `For it is assumed that the mere possibility of imagining a series of steps of transition from one condition of organs to another, is to be accepted as a reason for believing that such transition has taken place. And next, that such a possibility being thus imagined, we may assume an unlimited number of generations for the transition to take place in, and that this indefinite time may extinguish all doubt that the transitions really have taken place.' [Whewell W., Astronomy and General Physics, 1864 pp.xvii-xviii] What Darwin was doing, in effect, was creating a 'logic of possibility." Unlike conventional logic, where the compound of possibilities results not in a greater possibility, or probability, but in a lesser one, the logic of the Origin was one in which possibilities were assumed to add up to probability." (Himmelfarb G., "Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution," , Elephant Paperbacks: Chicago IL, 1996, reprint, pp.332-333) 16/03/2006 "Hell hath no fury like a philosopher scorned - even one who doesn't believe in hell. Two of the leading philosophers of evolution have been caught in an email slanging match that has been printed on the blog of their mutual enemy William Dembski, a supporter of the rebranded creationism known as intelligent design. There is a poetic justice to this, since the row started with an argument over how to combat creationism. In one camp is the British-born philosopher Michael Ruse, who testified against creationism in an important trial in Arkansas in 1989, but who has always argued that evolution, though true, does not compel atheism. In his last and most controversial book, The Evolution- Creation Struggle, he argued that if evolution did disprove the existence of God, it shouldn't be taught in US schools since that would mean teaching atheism, which would infringe the constitutional separation of church and state. Ruse distinguishes between evolution as a scientific theory that contradicts some religious doctrines and `evolutionism', which is a philosophy that claims that evolution has made religion obsolete. On the other side is Darwinian Daniel Dennett, philosopher and friend of Richard Dawkins. Dennett's latest book, Breaking the Spell, is a vigorous attempt to preach atheism to the unconverted. When a long piece about the struggle against creationism in the New York Times Book Review suggested there was some truth to Ruse's belief that `evolutionism' is being pushed by people like Dennett as a substitute for religion, Dennett was aggrieved, denouncing Ruse's ideas as `a transparent example of a well-known cheap trick'." (Brown A., "When evolutionists attack," The Guardian, March 6, 2006) 17/03/2006 "In a book composed entirely of quotations, the question of copyright, and its ill-defined antithesis, fair dealing, is complex. We have endeavoured to contact the authors or copyright owners in all cases where we are quoting a complete work, or so large a portion of a work that we believed such action to be necessary." (Murray-Smith S., ed., "The Dictionary of Australian Quotations," , Heinemann: Richmond Vic., Australia, Revised, 1987, p.iv) 18/03/2006 "1 KINGS 7:19-26 ... `The Bronze Sea' (7:23-26). This huge basin or reservoir was one of the great Hebrew technical works, corresponding in modern metallurgy to the casting of the largest church bell. It was viewed as a large expanse and volume of water (Heb. yam, `sea' is only used figuratively here, v. 23) and corresponded with the bronze basin in the tabernacle (Ex. 30:17-21). It was used by priests for cleansing their hands and feet and perhaps also to supply water to the standing basins for the rinsing of offerings (2 Ch. 4:10). 23. The size is given as five metres in diameter and two and a half metres in height and a handbreadth (v. 26, a sixth of a cubit = 7.5 cm.) thick. The capacity was about ten thousand gallons (two thousand baths is a measure, cf. the post-exilic `three thousand', 2 Ch. 4:5). [The bath is attested archaeologically as varying locally between 18 and 45 litres.] Its form has been reconstructed with the circumference given generally as thirty cubits." (Wiseman D.J., "1 And 2 Kings: An Introduction and Commentary," Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries," , InterVarsity Press: Leicester UK, Reprinted, 2003, p.115) 18/03/2006 "Like many revolutionaries, Darwin embarked upon this revolutionary enterprise in the most innocent and reasonable spirit. He started out by granting the hypothetical nature of his theory and went on to defend the use of hypotheses in science, such hypotheses being justified if they explained a sufficiently large number of facts. His own theory, he continued, was `rendered in some degree probable' by one set of facts and could be tested and confirmed by another- among which he included the geological succession of organic beings. It was because it `explained' both these bodies of facts that it was removed from the status of a mere hypothesis and elevated to the rank of a well- grounded theory.' [Darwin C.R., "The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication," John Murray: London, 1868, Vol. 1, pp.8-9] This procedure, by which one of the major difficulties of the theory was made to bear witness in its favor, can only be accounted for by a confusion in the meaning of `explain'- between the sense in which facts are `explained' by a theory and the sense in which difficulties may be `explained away.' It is the difference between compliant facts which lend themselves to the theory and refractory ones which do not and can only be brought into submission by a more or less plausible excuse. By confounding the two, both orders of explanation, both orders of fact, were entered on the same side of the ledger, the credit side. Thus the `difficulties' he had so candidly confessed to were converted into assets." (Himmelfarb G., "Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution," , Elephant Paperbacks: Chicago IL, 1996, reprint, p.334) 18/03/2006 "This technique for the conversion of possibilities into probabilities and liabilities into assets was the more effective the longer the process went on. In the chapter entitled "Difficulties on Theory" the solution of each difficulty in turn came more easily to Darwin as he triumphed over-not simply disposed of-the preceding one. The reader was put under a constantly mounting obligation; if he accepted one explanation, he was committed to accept the next. Having first agreed to the theory in cases where only some of the transitional stages were missing, the reader was expected to acquiesce in those cases where most of the stages were missing, and finally in those where there was no evidence of stages at all. Thus, by the time the problem of the eye was under consideration, Darwin was insisting that anyone who had come with him so far could not rightly hesitate to go further. In the same spirit, he rebuked those naturalists who held that while some reputed species were varieties rather than real species, other species were real. Only the kindness of preconceived opinion," [Origin, 1st edition, p.409] he held, could make them balk at going the whole way-as if it was not precisely the propriety of going the whole way that was at issue." (Himmelfarb G., "Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution," , Elephant Paperbacks: Chicago IL, 1996, reprint, pp.334-335) 18/03/2006 "If then we are so like the chimp, why are we not crossing bridges built by chimp engineers or singing hymns written by chimp poets? Obviously because the above measures of likeness told us very little about who we are. What we have discovered from these molecular and anatomical studies is apparently a long list of things irrelevant to being human - or to being a chimpanzee. Note that all the above studies are based on comparisons of characteristics described on the lower levels of the blueprint hierarchy. If, as we concluded in the last chapter, such measures can be useful for deducing ancestry, it would be logical to suggest that chimps and humans are descended from a common ancestor (at about 7 MYA). If so, however, it also follows that the nature of that common ancestor is irrelevant to understanding the difference between chimps and humans. ... perhaps a description of how humans differ from other forms of life would be more fruitful.... All primates, but especially hominoids, have manipulative hands and large brains, but not to the extent that the human species does. .... Subtle differences are also to be found in the human airway and tongue, changes which allow for the complex shaping of sounds, (changes which make swallowing and breathing more difficulty. How significant would a extra terrestrial biologist consider these morphological variants? What taxonomic status would he give us? ... By frog standards, human and chimp should belong to different orders. ... it seems clear that, morphologically at least, the human race merits its family level distinction from the apes, despite its molecular similarity. .... Adaptive complexes (as in the panda) are usually considered functions of an ecological niche. Our theoretical extra-terrestrial investigator therefore might also compare the human and chimp niches. He would certainly have no trouble differentiating the human `niche' from the rather narrow arboreal niches and limited habitats of the other hominoids. No species on earth lives in more habitats, uses more resources, has more diverse ecological roles or shows greater societal plasticity. This is despite the fact that as a species, humans are anatomically uniform and reproductively cohesive. ... Thus, man's niche is far less determined by the environment than is the niche of the chimpanzee. Our extra terrestrial friend would probably conclude that the human species has indeed recently penetrated a radically new adaptive plane, one as great as the `invention' of photosynthesis or multicellular life. Perhaps he would conclude that a kingdom level `speciation' event has occurred, the first since the Cambrian." (Wilcox D.L., "Created in Eternity, Unfolded in Time," Eastern College: St. Davids PA, 1990, Unpublished manuscript, Chapter 7, p.3. Emphasis original) 18/03/2006 "As possibilities were promoted into probabilities, and probabilities into certainties, so ignorance itself was raised to a position only once removed from certain knowledge. When imagination exhausted itself and Darwin could devise no hypothesis to explain away a difficulty, he resorted to the blanket assurance that we were too ignorant of the ways of nature to know why one event occulted rather than another, and hence ignorant of the explanation that would reconcile the facts to his theory. When one botanist argued that his theory was contradicted by the fact that some forms remained unaltered through long periods of time and wide expanse of space, Darwin admitted the objection to be `formidable in appearance, and to a certain extent in reality.' But this did not deter him: `Does not the difficulty rest much on our silently assuming that we know more than we do? I have literally found nothing so difficult as to try and always remember our ignorance. I am never weary, when walking in any new adjoining district or country, of reflecting how absolutely ignorant we are why certain old plants are not there present, and other new ones are, and others in different proportions.... Certainly a priori we might have anticipated that all the plants anciently introduced into Australia would have undergone some modification; but the fact that they have not been modified does not seem to me a difficulty of weight enough to shake a belief grounded on other arguments.' [Darwin to Bentham, May 22, 1863: Life and Letters, II, 24-25]" (Himmelfarb G., "Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution," , Elephant Paperbacks: Chicago IL, 1996, reprint, pp.335-336) 19/03/2006 "Somehow the fact that no adequate explanation suggested itself today seemed a warrant for the belief that such an explanation would suggest itself in the future, and that the explanation, moreover, would be bound to vindicate his theory. Thus the argument from ignorance was made the prelude to a confident affirmation: `We are far too ignorant, in almost every case, to be enabled to assert that any part or organ is so unimportant for the welfare of a species that modifications in its structure could not have been slowly accumulated by means of natural selection. But we may confidently believe...' [Origin, 1st edition, p.175] It may be objected, however, that in the logic of science, as in the logic of grammar, three negatives do not normally constitute a positive. To be sure, a scientific theory that explains equally well a variety of contradictory phenomena may still be true; there are reputable theories that cannot, in this sense, be falsified, [Polanyi, Personal Knowledge, p.47] and hypothetical reasoning is a legitimate, even necessary, scientific technique. The difficulty with natural selection, however, is that if it explains too much, it also explains too little, and that the more questionable of its hypotheses lie at the heart of its thesis. Posing as a massive deduction from the evidence, it ends up as an ingenious argument from ignorance." (Himmelfarb G., "Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution," , Elephant Paperbacks: Chicago IL., 1996, reprint, p.336) 19/03/2006 "Argumentum ad Ignorantiam (argument from ignorance). The fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantiam is ... committed whenever it is argued that a proposition is true simply on the basis that it has not been proved false, or that it is false because it has not been proved true. But our ignorance of how to prove or disprove a proposition clearly does not establish either the truth or the falsehood of that proposition. This fallacy often arises in connection with such matters as psychic phenomena, telepathy, and the like, where there is no clear- cut evidence either for or against. It is curious how many of the most enlightened people are prone to this fallacy, as witnessed by the many students of science who affirm the falsehood of spiritualist and telepathic claims simply on the grounds that their truth has not been established." (Copi I.M., Introduction to Logic," , Macmillan Publishing Co: New York NY, Seventh Edition, 1986, p.94) 19/03/2006 "There are those, however, who measure the credibility of a claim not in terms of the evidence in its favor, but in terms of the lack of evidence against it. They argue that since there is no evidence refuting their position, it must be true. Although such arguments have great psychological appeal, they are logically fallacious. Their conclusions don't follow from their premises because a lack of evidence is no evidence at all. Arguments of this type are said to commit the fallacy of appeal to ignorance. Here are some examples: No one has shown that Jones was lying. Therefore he must be telling the truth. No one has shown that there are no ghosts. Therefore they must exist. No one has shown that ESP is impossible. Therefore it must be possible. All a lack of evidence shows is our own ignorance; it doesn't provide a reason for believing anything. .... The principle here: Just because a claim hasn't been conclusively refuted doesn't mean that it's true. A claim's truth is established by the amount of evidence in its favor, not by the lack of evidence against it. ... It's not only true believers who commit the fallacy of appeal to ignorance, however. Skeptics often take this approach: No one has proven that ESP exists, therefore it doesn't. This, too, is fallacious reasoning; it's an attempt to get something for nothing. The operative principle here is the converse of the one cited earlier: Just because a -claim hasn't been conclusively proven doesn't mean that it's false. (Schick T. & Vaughn L., "How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age," Mayfield: Mountain View CA, California, Second edition, 1995, pp.18- 19. Emphasis original) 20/03/2006 "The cell-the irreducible unit of life on Earth-has an estimated history nigh on 3.5 billion years. " ( Maher B.A., "Uprooting the Tree of Life," The Scientist, Vol. 16. No. 18, September 16, 2002, p.26) 20/03/2006 "A very remarkable case of fine-tuning has to do with the smoothness of the universe as it emerged from the Big Bang. The universe had to be extremely smooth, or else it would have been packed with nothing but black holes. At the same time, there had to be just the right amount of lumpiness to the early universe, to make the formation of stars and galaxies possible. Mathematician Roger Penrose (Penrose 1981) has estimated that the margin of error permitted here was less than 1 in 10 to the 10 to the 123rd power (that is, 1 followed by 10 to the 123rd power zeros, more zeros than there are particles in the universe!) One solution to the this smoothness problem is offered by the theory of an inflationary Big Bang, a Big Bang in which there is a very brief period of very rapid expansion at the very beginning. However, such expansion requires an even more impressive feat of fine-tuning. For inflation to take place, the value of the cosmological constant had to take a very small and very precise value. The cosmological constant is the result of the almost perfect cancellation of a very large number of comparatively very large physical constants. For example, a change in the strength of the gravitational or nuclear force as little as one part in 10 to the 100th could entirely ruin the cancellation, making space expand or contract furiously. There are many more coincidences of this kind than we can even mention in the short time available, coincidences involving the proton/electron mass ratio, the fine structure constant, the necessity for a universe with exactly 3 spatial dimensions, the necessity of Pauli's exclusion principle and the quantization of the energy levels of the atom, the electrical neutrality of matter, and so forth." (Koons R.C., "Post-Agnostic Science: How Physics is Reviving the Argument from Design," November 5, 1998) 20/03/2006 "The fundamental boundary value (or initial condition) problem with the big bang is the criticality of the initial velocity. If this velocity is to fast, the matter in the universe expands too quickly and never coalesces into planets, stars, and galaxies. If the initial velocity is too slow, the universe expands only for a short time and then quickly collapses under the influence of gravity. Well-accepted cosmological models tell us that the initial velocity must be specified to a precision of 1/1055. This requirement seems to overwhelm chance and has been the impetus for creative alternatives, most recently the new inflationary model of the big bang. However, inflation itself seems to require fine-tuning for it to occur at all and for it to yield irregularities neither to small nor to large for galaxies to form. Early on it was estimated that two components of an expansion-driving cosmological constant must cancel each other with an accuracy better than 1 part in 1050. More recently in Scientific American (January 1999), the required accuracy is stated to be 1 part in 10123. Furthermore, the ratio of the gravitational energy to the kinetic energy must equal to 1.00000 with a variation of 1 part in 100,000. This is aThis is an active area of research at the moment and these values may change over time. However, it appears that the essential requirements of very highly specified boundary conditions will be present in whatever model is finally confirmed for the big bang origin of the universe.." (Bradley W.L., "The Designed 'Just So' Universe," Leadership U., 25 February 2005 ) 20/03/2006 "Cosmologists sometimes claim that the universe can arise 'from nothing'. But they should watch their language, especially when addressing philosophers. We've realized ever since Einstein that empty space can have a structure such that it can be warped and distorted. Even if shrunk to a 'point', it is latent with particles and forces - still a far richer construct than the philosopher's 'nothing'. Theorists may, some day, be able to write down fundamental equations governing physical reality. But physics can never explain what 'breathes fire' into the equations, and actualizes them in a real cosmos. The fundamental question of 'Why is there something rather than nothing?' remains the province of philosophers. And even I hey may be wiser to respond, with Ludwig Wittgenstein, that 'whereof one cannot speak, one must be silent'." (Rees M.J., "Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape the Universe," , Phoenix: London, 2000, pp.145. Emphasis original)] 20/03/2006 "NATURAL Selection,' simply and by itself, is potent to explain the maintenance or the further extension and development of favourable variations, which are at once sufficiently considerable to be useful from the first to the individual possessing them. But Natural Selection utterly fails to account for the conservation and development of the minute and rudimentary beginnings, the slight and insignificant commencements of structures, however useful those structures may afterwards become. Now, it is distinctly enunciated by Mr. Darwin, that the spontaneous variations upon which his theory depends are individually slight, minute, and insensible. He says, `Slight individual differences, however, suffice for the work, and are probably the sole differences which are effective in the production of new species.' And again, after mentioning the frequent sudden appearances of domestic varieties, he speaks of `the false belief as to the similarity of natural species in this respect.' ["Animals and plants under Domestication," vol. ii. p.414] In his work on the "Origin of Species," he also observes, `Natural Selection acts only by the preservation and accumulation of small inherited modifications.' ["Origin of Species," 5th edit., 1859, p.110] And 'Natural Selection, if it be a true principle, will banish the belief ... of any great and sudden modification in their structure.' [Ibid. p.111] Finally, he adds, `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.' Ibid. p.227. Even in his recently published work, Mr. Darwin observes, `Slight fluctuating differences in the individual suffice for the work of natural selection.' See "Descent of Man," vol. ii, p.387." (Mivart St.G.J., "The Incompetency of "Natural Selection" to Account for the Incipient Stages of Useful Structures," Chapter II, "On the Genesis of Species," Macmillan & Co: London, Second edition, 1871, pp.26- 27) 20/03/2006 "According to physics theories, most everything in the universe decays-including protons. Sooner or later, matter as we know it will cease to exist. The proton's lifetime is still not known, but a new, more stringent lower limit has been found by the Super-Kamiokande underground detector in Japan. The device, which last year found that neutrinos have a slight mass, looked for by-products of proton decay (principally, positrons and pi mesons) but found none. The research team therefore concludes that protons persist for at least 1.6 x 1033 years-far longer, by 100 billion trillion years, than the current age of the universe." ("Proton Armageddon," Scientific American, January 1999, p.30) 20/03/2006 "Nonetheless, by the early 1990s, inflation and many of the other exotic ideas that had emerged from particle physics in the previous decade had begun losing support from mainstream cosmologists. Even David Schramm, who had been quite bullish on inflation when I met him in Sweden, had his doubts when I spoke to him several years later. `I like inflation,' Schramm said, but it can never be thoroughly verified because it does not generate any unique predictions, predictions that cannot be explained in some other way. `You won't . see that for inflation,' Schramm continued, `whereas for the big bang itself you do see that. The beautiful, cosmic microwave background and the light-element abundances tell you, `This is it: There's no other way of getting these observations:' Schramm acknowledged that as cosmologists venture further back toward the beginning of time, their theories become more speculative. Cosmology needs a unified theory of particle physics to describe processes in the very early universe, but validating a unified theory may be extremely difficult. `Even if somebody comes up with a really beautiful theory, like superstring theory, there's not any way it can be tested. So you're not really doing the scientific method, where you make predictions and then check it. There's not that experimental check going on. It's more just mathematical consistency.' Could the field end up being like the interpretation of quantum mechanics, where the standards are primarily aesthetic? `That's a real problem I have with it,' Schramm replied, `that unless one comes up with tests, we are into the more philosophical rather than physics area. The tests have to give the universe as we observe it, but that's more of a post-diction rather than a pre-diction." (Horgan J., "The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age," , Little, Brown & Co: London, 1997, pp.102-103. Emphasis in original) 21/03/2006 "All told, Ruse claims, loading values onto the platform of evolutionary science constitutes ''evolutionism,'' an outlook that goes far beyond the scientific acceptance of evolution as a means of explaining the origins and development of species. Provocatively, Ruse argues that evolutionism has often constituted a ''religion'' itself by offering ''a world picture, a story of origins, and a special place for humans,'' while its proponents have been ''trying deliberately to do better than Christianity.'' (Dizikes P., "Evolutionary war," Boston Globe, May 1, 2005) 22/03/2006 "But some of the cases which have been brought forward, and which have met with very general acceptance, seem less satisfactory when carefully analysed than they at first appear to be. Amongst these we may mention `the neck of the giraffe.' At first sight it would seem as though a better example in support of `Natural Selection' could hardly have been chosen. Let the fact of the occurrence of occasional, severe droughts in the country which that animal has inhabited be granted. In that case, when the ground vegetation has been consumed, and the trees alone remain, it is plain that at such times only those individuals (of what we assume to be the nascent giraffe species) which were able to reach high up would be preserved, and would become the parents of the following generation, some individuals of which would, of course, inherit that high-reaching power which alone preserved their parents. Only the high- reaching issue of these high- reaching individuals would again, ceteris paribus, be preserved at the next drought, and would again transmit to their offspring- their still loftier stature; and so on, from period to period, through aeons of time, all the individuals tending to revert to the ancient shorter type of body, being ruthlessly destroyed at the occurrence of each drought. ... But against this it may be said, in the first place,, that the argument proves too much; for, on this supposition, many species must have tended to undergo a similar modification, and we ought to have at least several forms, similar to the giraffe, developed from different Ungulata. ... A careful observer of animal life who has long resided in South Africa, explored the interior, and lived in the giraffe country, has assured the Author that the giraffe has powers of locomotion, and endurance fully equal to those possessed by any of the other Ungulata of that continent. It would seem, therefore, that some of these other Ungulates ought to have developed in a similar manner as to the neck, under pain of being starved, when the long neck of the giraffe was in its incipient stage. ... If, as Mr. Darwin contends, the natural selection of these favourable variations has alone lengthened the neck of the giraffe by preserving long necked individuals during droughts ; similar variations, in other similarly- feeding forms, ought similarly to have been preserved, and so have lengthened the neck of such other Ungulates by similarly preserving them during the same droughts." (Mivart St.G.J., "On the Genesis of Species," Macmillan & Co: London, Second edition, 1871, pp.28-29, 31) 24/03/2006 "It may be also objected, that the power of reaching upwards, acquired by the lengthening of the [giraffe's] neck and legs, must have necessitated a considerable increase in the entire size and mass of the body (larger bones requiring stronger and more voluminous muscles and tendons, and these again necessitating larger nerves, more capacious blood-vessels, &c.), and it is very problematical whether the disadvantages thence arising would not, in times of scarcity, more than counterbalance the advantages. For a considerable increase in the supply of food would be requisite on account of this increase in size and mass, while at the same time there would be a certain decrease in strength; since, as Mr. Herbert Spencer says: ["Principles of Biology," vol. i. p.122] 'It is demonstrable that the excess of absorbed over expended nutriment must, other things equal, become less as the size of an animal becomes greater. In similarly- shaped bodies, the masses vary as the cubes of the dimensions; whereas the strengths vary as the squares of the dimensions. ... Supposing a creature which a year ago was one foot high, has now become two feet high, while it is unchanged in proportions and structure-what are the necessary concomitant changes that have taken place in it? It is eight times as heavy ; that is to say, it has to resist eight times the strain which gravitation puts on its structure; and in producing, as well as in arresting, every one of its movements, it has to overcome eight times the inertia. Meanwhile, the muscles and bones have severally increased their contractile and resisting powers, in proportion to the areas of their transverse sections ; and hence are severally but four times as strong as they were. Thus, 'while the creature has doubled in height, and while its ability to overcome forces has quadrupled, the forces it has to overcome have grown eight times as great. Hence, to raise its body through a given space, its muscles have to be contracted with twice the intensity, at a double cost of matter expended.' Again, as to the cost at which nutriment is distributed through the body, and effete matter removed from it, ` Each increment of growth being added at the periphery of an organism, the force expended in the transfer of matter must increase in a rapid progression - progression more rapid than that of the mass.'" (Mivart St.G. J., "On the Genesis of Species," Macmillan & Co: London, Second edition, 1871, pp.31-32) 24/03/2006 "There is yet another point. Vast as may have been the time during which the process of evolution has continued, it is nevertheless not infinite. Yet, as every kind, on the Darwinian hypothesis, varies slightly but indefinitely in every organ and every part of every organ, how very generally must favourable variations as to the length of the [giraffe's] neck have been accompanied by some unfavourable variation in some other part, neutralizing the action of the favourable one, the latter, moreover, only taking effect during these periods of drought! How often must individuals, favoured by a slightly increased length of neck, have failed to enjoy the elevated foliage -which they had not strength or endurance to attain; while other individuals, exceptionally robust, could struggle on yet further till they arrived at vegetation within their reach." (Mivart St.G.J., "On the Genesis of Species," Macmillan & Co: London, Second edition, 1871, p.32) 24/03/2006 "Strong Anthropic Principle (SAP): The Universe must have those properties which allow life to develop within it at some stage in its history. An implication of the SAP is that the constants and laws of Nature must be such that life can exist. This speculative statement leads to a number of quite distinct interpretations of a radical nature: firstly, the most obvious is to continue in the tradition of the classical Design Arguments and claim that: ... There exists one possible Universe `designed' with the goal of generating and sustaining 'observers'. This view would have been supported by the natural theologians of past centuries .... More recently it has been taken seriously by scientists who include the Harvard chemist Lawrence Henderson [Henderson L.J., "The Fitness of the Environment," (1913); Harvard University Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1970] and the British astrophysicist Fred Hoyle, so impressed were they by the string of `coincidences' that exist between particular numerical values of dimensionless constants of Nature without which life of any sort would be excluded. Hoyle [Hoyle F., "Religion and the Scientists," SCM: London, 1959] points out how natural it might be to draw a teleological conclusion from the fortuitous positioning of nuclear resonance levels in carbon and oxygen: `I do not believe that any scientist who examined the evidence would fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce inside the stars. If this is so, then my apparently random quirks have become part of a deep-laid scheme. If not then we are back again at a monstrous sequence of accidents.'." (Barrow J.D. & Tipler F.J., "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Reprinted, 1996, pp.20-21. Emphasis original) 25/03/2006 "In 1978, [Colin] Patterson wrote an introductory book called Evolution, which was published by the British Museum. A year later, he received a letter from Luther Sunderland, an electrical engineer in upstate New York and a creationist-activist asking why Evolution did not include any "direct illustrations of evolutionary transitions " Patterson's reply included the following: `You say I should at least "show a photo of the fossil from which each type of organism was derived. " I will lay it on the line-there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument. The reason is that statements about ancestry and descent are not applicable in the fossil record. Is Archaeopteryx the ancestor of all birds? Perhaps yes, perhaps no: there is no way of answering fee question. It is easy enough to make up stories of how one form gave rise to another, and to find reasons why the stages should be favoured by natural selection. But such stories are not part of science, for there is no way of putting them to the test.' [Patterson C., Letter 10 April 1979, in Sunderland L.D.*, "Darwin's Enigma: Fossils and Other Problems," (1984), Master Book Publishers: El Cajon CA, Fourth edition, 1988, p.89]" (Bethell T.*, "Agnostic Evolutionists," in "The Electric Windmill: An Inadvertent Autobiography", Regnery Gateway: Washington DC, 1988, pp.192-193) 26/03/2006 "`...I fully agree with your comments on the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. [Patterson C., "Evolution," British Museum (Natural History): London, 1978] If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them. You suggest that an artist should be used to visualise such transformations, but where would he get the information from? I could not, honestly, provide it, and if I were to leave it to artistic licence, would that not mislead the reader?' I wrote the text of my book four years ago. If I were to write it now, I think the book would be rather different. Gradualism is a concept I believe in, not just because of Darwin's authority, but because my understanding of genetics seems to demand it. Yet Gould and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils. As a palaeontologist myself, I am much occupied with the philosophical problems of identifying ancestral forms in the fossil record. You say that I should at least 'show a photo of the fossil from which each type of organism was derived.' I will lay it on the line-there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument. The reason is that statements about ancestry and descent are not applicable in the fossil record. Is Archaeopteryx the ancestor of all birds? Perhaps yes, perhaps no: there is no way of answering the question. It is easy enough to make up stories of how one form gave rise to another, and to find reasons why the stages should be favoured by natural selection. But such stories are not part of science, for there is no way of putting them to the test.' [Patterson C., Letter of 10 April 1979 to Luther D. Sunderland]" (Sunderland L.D.*, "Darwin's Enigma: Fossils and Other Problems," , Master Book Publishers: El Cajon CA, Fourth Edition, 1988, p.89) 26/03/2006 "THOUGH we can say with complete confidence that man has evolved from an Old World primate, and can even come very near to the ancestor that gave rise to the human line, we cannot say what has brought aboutvolution. Darwin will always live as the scientist who first convinced the thinking world that man has evolved from some type of ape ; but the main theory which he proposed has by no means been universally accepted. In his Origin of Species he argued in favour of Evolution having been brought about by Nature favouring the fittest varieties. He called his theory, `Natural Selection ` or `The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.' Cope, the great American palaeontologist, wanted to know what was the origin of the fittest. And this is still our trouble." (Broom R., "Finding the Missing Link," , Greenwood Press: Westport CT, Second edition, 1951, Reprinted, 1975, p.98) 26/03/2006 "We know that among all animals there is great variation. In any large family no two are quite alike, and it was natural to assume that the fittest would be more likely to survive, and form a fitter variety. But it is now known that most of such varieties as are due to changing conditions of climate, nutrition, or to the physical condition of the mother at the time of the early development, and variations which Darwin thought would be inherited are not inherited at all." (Broom R., "Finding the Missing Link," , Greenwood Press: Westport CT, Second edition, 1951, Reprinted, 1975, p.98) 26/03/2006 "Hunt Morgan and other geneticists have shown that certain variations can be brought about by the action of heat and electricity, radium and X-rays, and that these variations are inherited-at least for some generations. And here it appeared that Nature had something tangible to select, and thus produce new species. No doubt in Nature lightning is common, and cosmic rays are apparently raining on the earth all the time, but there is no evidence whatever that such agencies have ever produced a new species. In fact, it seems that even if such mutations are selected by man, they only last for a few generations, and gradually the animals revert to the normal." (Broom R., "Finding the Missing Link," , Greenwood Press: Westport CT, Second edition, 1951, Reprinted, 1975, pp.98-99) 26/03/2006 "Darwin, in puzzling over the problem of the origin of new species, was greatly interested in the new varieties of pigeons, horses, cattle, and sheep that resulted from the selection and controlled breeding of desirable types. These varieties appear to differ far more from one another than do many species in Nature. Thus a racehorse and a shire appear to differ as much from each other as do a lion and tiger. And the difference between a pouter and a fantail pigeon seems to be much greater than that between a blackbird and a thrush. And if the varieties of horse and pigeon have been brought about by man's selection, why might not the lion and tiger and the blackbird and thrush have arisen by Nature's selection ? At first sight it looks as if man by careful selection can produce new species ; but apparently this is a fallacy. If a farmer has a fine flock of pure merino sheep, and he is satisfied to go on interbreeding them, he will find in a few years his flock is comparatively worthless as merinos. He has always to be introducing new selected rams." (Broom R., "Finding the Missing Link," , Greenwood Press: Westport CT, Second edition, 1951, Reprinted, 1975, p.99) 26/03/2006 "Man's selection produces only what may be called pathological species, and these if left to Nature are eliminated by Natural Selection. They are probably never able to survive in competition with the normal species." (Broom R., "Finding the Missing Link," , Greenwood Press: Westport CT, Second edition, 1951, Reprinted, 1975, p.100) 26/03/2006 "Though Darwin in all his later life regarded Natural Selection as the chief agent in Evolution, he often appears to have had serious doubts about it. In 1871 he wrote The Descent of Man, in which he shows that he no longer believes in Natural Selection as having originated many of the human characters. He says: "The characteristic differences between the races of man cannot be accounted for in a satisfactory manner by the direct action of the conditions of life, nor by the effects of the continued use of parts, nor through the principle of correlation. ... So far as we are enabled to judge (although always liable to error on this head) not one of the external differences between the races of man are of any direct or special service to him." [Darwin C.R., "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex," , John Murray: London, Second edition, 1874, Reprinted, 1922, p.307] He thus seems to admit that many human characters could not have arisen by Natural Selection, and he proposed a new theory. "We have thus far been baffled in all our attempts to account for the differences between the races of man; but there remains one important agency, namely, Sexual Selection, which seems to have acted as powerfully on man as in many other animals." [Darwin, 1874, pp.307-308] Though Darwin devoted the greater part of two volumes to showing the part Sexual Selection has played in the Animal Kingdom, one feels that he was not quite happy about it. He says, for example: "The views here advanced, on the part which Sexual Selection has played in the history of man, want scientific precision. He who does not admit this agency in the case of the lower animals, will probably disregard all that I have written in the latter chapters on man." [Darwin, 1874, p.308]" (Broom R., "Finding the Missing Link," , Greenwood Press: Westport CT, Second edition, 1951, Reprinted, 1975, pp.100-101) 26/03/2006 "Few have ever supported Darwin's views on Sexual Selection, and they have almost completely dropped out of scientific literature. The main interest the views now have are as showing that Darwin was by no means satisfied with Natural Selection. He felt there must be some other theory to explain facts that could not be explained by Natural Selection. A theory is always unsatisfactory if it seems to explain some facts in evolution, but fails to explain others. And Darwin has placed himself in an awkward position by having two theories, and even a third. If a character is of manifest advantage to an animal, like the powerful canine teeth or the claws of the tiger, then manifestly it arose by Natural Selection. If a character, like a peacock's tail, is a manifest disadvantage it arose by Sexual Selection. And if a character is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage, like the loss of the power of flight in the Dodo, then we have always Lamarckism to fall back on. It makes one feel that none of these theories is the true one." (Broom R., "Finding the Missing Link," , Greenwood Press: Westport CT, Second edition, 1951, Reprinted, 1975, pp.100-101) 26/03/2006 "... many other instances will be found to present great difficulties. Let us take the cases of mimicry amongst Lepidoptera and other insects. ... Now let us suppose that the ancestors of these various animals were all destitute of the very special protections they at. present possess, as on the Darwinian hypothesis we must do. Let it also be conceded that small deviations from the antecedent colouring or form would tend to make some of their ancestors escape destruction by causing them more or less frequently to be passed over, or mistaken by their persecutors. Yet the deviation must, as the event has shown, in each case be in some definite direction, whether it be towards some other animal or plant, or towards some dead or inorganic matter. But as, according to Mr. Darwin's theory, there is a constant tendency to indefinite variation, and as the minute incipient variations will be in all directions, they must tend to neutralize each other, and at first to form such unstable modifications that it is difficult, if not impossible, to see how such indefinite oscillations of insignificant beginnings can ever build up a sufficiently appreciable resemblance to a leaf, bamboo, or other object, for "Natural Selection" to seize upon and perpetuate." (Mivart St.G. J., "On the Genesis of Species," Macmillan & Co: London, Second edition, 1871, pp.33, 38. Emphasis original) 26/03/2006 "In comparing humans to older primates we indeed have many similar biological characteristics. We have manipulative hands and highly mobile (brachiating) shoulders and large brains, but we also have a unique bipedal locomotion and subtle differences in the air passages and tongue, changes that provide for the complex shaping of sounds. The combination of the possibilities for speech along with a greatly enlarged brain provide for the development of abstract symbols (as evidenced in the cave art) and the highly complex social exchange we call language. Ecologically, humans are extremely diverse. No species on earth is so widespread and diversified in terms of habitat, resource utilization, and societal plasticity. We are the adaptive animal! If an extraterrestrial biologist were asked to explain the difference between ourselves and our ancient ancestor the chimpanzee, who still is confined to the African jungle, he would probably suggest that something quite extraordinary must have happened. In David Wilcox's words: `Our Martian friend would probably conclude that the human species has indeed recently penetrated a radically new adaptive plane, one as great as the invention of photosynthesis or multicellular life. Perhaps he would conclude that a kingdom level "speciation" event has occurred, the first since the Cambrian.' [Wilcox D., "Created in Eternity, Unfolded in Time," Unpublished manuscript, 1990, Chap.7, p.4]" (Templeton J.M. & Herrmann R.L., "Is God the Only Reality?: Science Points to a Deeper Meaning of the Universe," Continuum: New York, 1994, pp.139-140) 26/03/2006 "We may even go further, and maintain that there are certain purely physical characteristics of the human race which are not explicable on the theory of variation and survival of the fittest. The brain, the organs of speech, the hand, and the external form of man, offer some special difficulties in this respect, to which we will briefly direct attention. In the brain of the lowest savages, and, as far as we yet know, of the pre-historic races, we have an organ so little inferior in size and complexity to that of the highest types (such as the average European), that we must believe it capable, under a similar process of gradual development during the space of two or three thousand years, of producing equal average results. But the mental requirements of the lowest savages, such as the Australians or the Andaman islanders, are very little above those of many animals. The higher moral faculties and those of pure intellect and refined emotion are useless to them, are rarely if ever manifested, and have no relation to their wants, desires, or well-being. How, then, was an organ developed so far beyond the needs of its possessor? Natural selection could only have endowed the savage with a brain a little superior to that of an ape, whereas he actually possesses one but very little inferior to that of the average members of our learned societies. Again, what a wonderful organ is the hand of man;7 of what marvels of delicacy is it capable, and how greatly it assists in his education and mental development! The whole circle of the arts and sciences are ultimately dependent on our possession of this organ, without which we could hardly have become truly human. This hand is equally perfect in the lowest savage, but he has no need for so fine an instrument, and can no more fully utilise it than he could use without instruction a complete set of joiner's tools. But, stranger still, this marvellous instrument was foreshadowed and prepared in the Quadrumana; and any person, who will watch how one of these animals uses its hands, will at once perceive that it possesses an organ far beyond its needs. The separate fingers and the thumb are never fully utilised, and objects are grasped so clumsily, as to show that a much less specialised organ of prehension would have served its purpose quite as well; and if this be so, it could never have been produced through the agency of natural selection alone. We have further to ask--How did man acquire his erect posture, his delicate yet expressive features, the marvellous beauty and symmetry of his whole external form;--a form which stands alone, in many respects more distinct from that of all the higher animals than they are from each other? Those who have lived much among savages know that even the lowest races of mankind, if healthy and well fed, exhibit the human form in its complete symmetry and perfection. They all have the soft smooth skin absolutely free from any hairy covering on the dorsal line, where all other mammalia from the Marsupials up to the Anthropoid apes have it most densely and strongly developed. What use can we conceive to have been derived from this exquisite beauty and symmetry and this smooth bare skin, both so very widely removed from his nearest allies? And if these modifications were of no physical use to him--or if, as appears almost certain in the case of the naked skin, they were at first a positive disadvantage--we know that they could not have been produced by natural selection. Yet we can well understand that both these characters were essential to the proper development of the perfect human being. The supreme beauty of our form and countenance has probably been the source of all our aesthetic ideas and emotions, which could hardly have arisen had we retained the shape and features of an erect gorilla; and our naked skin, necessitating the use of clothing, has at once stimulated our intellect, and by developing the feeling of personal modesty may have profoundly affected our moral nature. The same line of argument may be used in connexion with the structural and mental organs of human speech, since that faculty can hardly have been physically useful to the lowest class of savages; and if not, the delicate arrangements of nerves and muscles for its production could not have been developed and co-ordinated by natural selection. This view is supported by the fact that, among the lowest savages with the least copious vocabularies, the capacity of uttering a variety of distinct articulate sounds, and of applying to them an almost infinite amount of modulation and inflection, is not in any way inferior to that of the higher races. An instrument has been developed in advance of the needs of its possessor." (Wallace A.R., "Sir Charles Lyell on Geological Climates and the Origin of Species," Quarterly Review, April 1869, pp.392-393. http://www.wku.edu/~smithch/wallace/S146.htm 26/03/2006 "Third, and most important perhaps in its final effect upon the thinking of Wallace, was Darwin's heavy emphasis upon utility, upon limited perfection. `Natural selection,' he had contended in the Origin, `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 had to struggle for existence. Natural selection will not produce absolute perfection.' [Darwin C.R., "Origin of Species,"1872, Sixth edition, Modern Library: New York, pp.172-73] It was just this reservation when applied to the problem of the rise of the human brain which led Wallace to break with the views of his distinguished colleague. In 1869, much to the dismay of Darwin, he came to the conclusion that natural selection and its purely utilitarian approach to life would not account for many aspects and capacities of the human brain. [Wallace A.R., "Geological Climates and the Origin of Species," Quarterly Review, Vol. 126, 1869, pp.359-94] Furthermore, he began to express concern over the difficulty of accounting for the absence of numerous human remains in the older geological deposits, if humanity had been indeed as numerous as the Darwinian theory demanded. [Wallace A.R., "Darwinism," London, 1896, p.458] Wallace contended in the Quarterly Review article, which soon drew the attention of Darwin and Huxley, that the brain of the lowest savages, or even of the known prehistoric races, was little inferior to that of Europeans. `Natural selection,' he argued, `could only have endowed the savage with a brain a little superior to that of an ape, whereas he actually possesses one but very little inferior to that of the average member of our learned societies. ... Wallace pointed out `that, among the lowest savages with the least copious vocabularies, the capacity of uttering a variety of distinct articulate sounds, and of applying to them an almost infinite amount of modulation and inflection, is not in any way inferior to that of the higher races. An instrument has been developed in advance of the needs of its possessor.' [Wallace, 1869, p.393] In this last sentence we come upon the clue to all of Wallace's later thinking upon man. He had become firmly convinced that man's latent intellectual powers, even in a savage state, were far in excess of what he might have achieved through natural selection alone. 'We have to ask,' he said later, `what relation the successive stages of improvement of the mathematical faculty had to the life or death of its possessors, to the struggle of tribe with tribe, or nation with nation; or to the ultimate survival of one race and the extinction of another.' [Wallace A.R., "Difficulties of Development as Applied to Man," Popular Science Monthly, 1876, Vol. 10, p.65] Musical gifts, high ethical behavior, he had come to doubt as being ever the product of utility in the war of nature. They lay ready for exploitation as much among savages as among the civilized. They were latent powers." (Eiseley L.C., "Darwin's Century: Evolution and the Men Who Discovered It," , Anchor Books: Garden City NY, Reprinted, 1961, pp.310-312) 27/03/2006 "THERE are one hundred and ninety-three living species of monkeys and apes. One hundred and ninety-two of them are covered with hair. The exception is a naked ape self-named Homo sapiens. This unusual and highly successful species spends a great deal of time examining his higher motives and an equal amount of time studiously ignoring his fundamental ones." (Morris D., "The Naked Ape," , Corgi Books: London, Reprinted, 1969, p.9) 29/03/2006 "Colin Patterson, perhaps the leading transformed cladist, has enunciated what might be regarded as the cladists' battle cry: `The concept of ancestry is not accessible by the tools we have.' Patterson and his fellow Cladists argue that a common ancestor can only be hypothesized, not identified in the fossil record. A group of people can be brought together for a family reunion on the basis of birth documents, tombstone inscriptions, and parish records evidence of process, one might say. But in nature there are no parish records; there are only fossils. And a fossil, Patterson told me once, is a `mess on a rock.' Time, change, process, evolution-none of this, the Cladists argue, can be read from rocks. What can be discerned in nature, according to the cladists, are patterns- relationships between things, not between eras. There can be no absolute tracing back. There can be no certainty about parent-offspring links. Only inferences can be drawn from fossils. To the cladists, the science of evolution is in large part a matter of faith-faith different, but not all that different, from that of the creationists." (Bethell T.*, "Agnostic Evolutionists", in "The Electric Windmill: An Inadvertent Autobiography", Regnery Gateway: Washington DC, 1988, p196) 29/03/2006 "[Gareth] Nelson put the issue of evolution this way: In order to understand what we actually know, we must first look at what it is that the evolutionists claim to know for certain. He said that if you turn to a widely used college text like Alfred Romer's Vertebrate Paleontology, published by the University of Chicago Press in 1966 and now in its third edition, you will find such statements as `mammals evolved from reptiles,' and `birds are descended from reptiles.' (Very rarely, at least in the current literature, Will you find the claim that a given species evolved from another given species) The trouble with general statements like `mammals evolved from reptiles,' Nelson said, is that the `ancestral groups are taxonomic artifacts These groups `do not have any characters that are unique,' he said. `They do not have defining characters, and therefore they are not real groups.' I asked Nelson to name some of these `unreal' groups. He replied: invertebrates, fishes, reptiles, apes. But this does not by any means exhaust the list of negatively defined groups. Statements imputing ancestry to such groups have no real meaning, he said." (Bethell T.*, "Agnostic Evolutionists," in "The Electric Windmill: An Inadvertent Autobiography", Regnery Gateway: Washington DC, 1988, p.199) 30/03/2006 "Bergson proposed a theory of quite a different nature. It was that evolution took place because it had to take place ; just as the egg, if incubated, must turn into a chicken. He believes there is some force or agency in Nature, which he calls the elan vital, which forces most types of animals to evolve into higher types. In the evolution of the horse from the little four-toed Eohippus that lived 40,000,000 years ago to the large one-toed horse of today, we seem to have a nearly steady succession of forms, gradually becoming larger and larger, and with more and more complicated grinding teeth. In the opinion of many palaeontologists this steady evolution cannot be explained by Natural Selection, nor by Lamarckism, and certainly not by Sexual Selection. And it looks as if some agency has been driving the evolution along to a definite end." (Broom R., "Finding the Missing Link," , Greenwood Press: Westport CT, Second edition, 1951, Reprinted, 1975, pp.101-102) 30/03/2006 "The whole problem of how evolution has come about is a very difficult one, and in a little book on man's ancestors one can hardly be expected to discuss it at any great length. Also it is unfortunate that dogmatism and prejudice are not confined to religious bodies. Only a few years ago a teacher in America was prosecuted for discussing evolution in school; and one of America's greatest statesmen took a leading part in the prosecution. And today in some quarters Darwin's theory of Natural Selection is so much a dogma that to doubt the truth of it is almost as dangerous to one's reputation as to doubt the doctrine of the Trinity. The factors or causes of evolution are very rarely discussed at scientific meetings, and most scientists apparently think it wisest to keep their views to themselves." (Broom R., "Finding the Missing Link," , Greenwood Press: Westport CT, Second edition, 1951, Reprinted, 1975, p.102) 30/03/2006 "Some of us consider that the `modern studies of genetics and selection `are not any more `established ` than are the Thirty-Nine Articles. I do not know what are the opinions of Le Gros Clark, but I have long ago stated that I do not think that Darwin's theory of Natural Selection gives us a satisfactory explanation of how evolution has come about; and I may here state as definitely that I am equally convinced that Hunt Morgan and the other geneticists have also completely failed to find an explanation." (Broom R., "Finding the Missing Link," , Greenwood Press: Westport CT, Second edition, 1951, Reprinted, 1975, pp.102-103) 30/03/2006 "Of course, there have been many who have clearly shown that they are not Darwinians. Bateson, in 1914, wrote: `We go to Darwin for his incomparable collection of facts. But to us he speaks no more with philosophical authority. We read his scheme of evolution as we would that of Lucretius, or of Lamarck, delighting in their simplicity and their courage.' Watson, in 1929, wrote: `The only two ` theories of evolution ' which have gained any currency, those of Lamarck and of Darwin, rest on a most insecure basis ; the validity of the assumptions on which they rest has seldom been seriously examined, and they do not interest most of the younger zoologists.' J.B.S. Haldane wrote of Darwinism in 1925: `This is still only a working 'hypothesis.' Many probably hold the opinion of Sir D'Arcy Thompson, who wrote in 1925 : `How species are actually produced remains an unsolved riddle, it is a great mystery.' It is rather interesting to note that T.H. Huxley, who fought the battle for Natural Selection and came out victorious, while an enthusiastic evolutionist, was never an out-and-out Darwinian. Poulton, in 1908, wrote: `Huxley was at no time a convinced believer in the theory he protected." (Broom R., "Finding the Missing Link," , Greenwood Press: Westport CT, Second edition, 1951, Reprinted, 1975, p.103) 31/03/2006 "Again, at the other end of the process it is as difficult to account for the last touches of perfection in the mimicry. Some insects which imitate leaves extend the imitation even to the Very injuries in those leaves made by the attacks of insects or of fungi. Thus, speaking of one of the walking-stick insects, Mr. Wallace says: `One of these creatures obtained by myself in Borneo (Ceroxylus laceratus) was covered over with foliaceous excrescences of a clear olive-green colour, so as exactly to resemble a stick grown over by a creeping moss or jungermannia. The Dyak who brought it me assured me it was grown over with moss although alive, and it was only after a most minute examination that I could convince myself it was not so.' Again, as to the leaf butterfly, he says: `We come to a still more extraordinary part of the imitation, for we find representations of leaves in every stage of decay, variously blotched, and mildewed, and pierced with holes, and in many cases irregularly covered with powdery black dots, gathered into patches and spots, so closely resembling the various kinds of minute fungi that brow on dead leaves, that it is impossible to avoid thinking, at first sight that the butterflies themselves have been attached by real fungi.' Here imitation has attained a development which seems utterly beyond the power of the mere `survival of the fittest ` to produce. How this double mimicry can importantly aid in the struggle for life seems puzzling indeed, but much more so how the first faint beginnings of the imitation of such injuries in. the leaf can be developed in the animal into such a complete representation of them - a fortiori how simultaneous and similar first beginnings of imitations of such injuries could ever have been developed in several individuals, out of utterly indifferent and indeterminate minute variations in all conceivable directions." (Mivart St.G. J., "On the Genesis of Species," Macmillan & Co: London, Second edition, 1871, pp.40-41)
* 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.
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Created: 28 February, 2006. Updated: 10 April, 2010.