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The following are quotes added to my Unclassified Quotes database in June 2006.
The date format is dd/mm/yy. See copyright conditions at end.
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1/06/2006 "True, the catching of the fish also gives grounds for believing in a benevolent fish-creator. But such double suggestiveness need not dismay us. Bob's empty treasure chest, on an island whose only inhabitants are Bob, Mike, and Jim, can fairly powerfully suggest that Mike is a thief despite also suggesting just as powerfully that theft has been committed by Jim. (In fact, the two of them may have committed it in partnership.)" (Leslie, J., "Universes," , Routledge: London, 1996, reprint, p.22) 1/06/2006 "A cosmos too very obviously God-made might tend to be a cosmos not of freedom but of puppetry. This is one of several grounds for thinking that God's creative role would not be made entirely plain. It would be quite another matter, though, for God to avoid every possible indication of his existence even when this meant selecting physical laws and force strengths and particle masses which were prima facie far less satisfactory than others he would otherwise have chosen. A God of that degree of deviousness looks uncomfortably dose to the kind of deity who creates the universe in 4004 BC complete with fossils in the rocks." (Leslie, J., "Universes," , Routledge: London, 1996, reprint, p.23) 1/06/2006 "A frequently heard protest is that no amount of finite evidence could support a belief in God, who is infinite. ... My reply is that in science and elsewhere we should seek simplicity, and infinity can at times be simpler than, say, five million and seventy." (Leslie, J., "Universes," , Routledge: London, 1996, reprint, p.23) 1/06/2006 "The conclusion to this argument from probabilities could be that it is altogether likely that either there exist many universes or God has ensured that our universe is just right for Life, or both. For note that probabilistic arguments often do a better job of showing that some explanation is needed than of actually picking out the right explanation. Scientists whose theories make seemingly improbable events very probable, and who then, when these events are observed, congratulate themselves on being right, are often dismayed to find that other theories predict the same events and have the advantage of actually being right. ... remember that it is possible for evidence to support a theory despite also giving support to a competing theory. ..." (Leslie, J., "Universes," , Routledge: London, 1996, reprint, p.155) 1/06/2006 "We cannot say however that the Big Bang was an absolute beginning. Science can provide no warrant for such a conception. We have to allow as a conceivable, if remote, possibility that the universe may have existed in some completely unknown way before the Big Bang. All we can say is that in terms of present knowledge it seems very likely that the Big Bang was the beginning of the universe and of time, so there was no 'before'. With this understanding it can now be asked whether the Big Bang has any significance for the Judeo-Christian doctrine of creation. We saw ... that there are several components of the doctrine, the most fundamental of them, and the one most emphasized in the theological tradition, being the ontological dependence of the universe on the Creator. The concept of time is simply not relevant to this article of the doctrine; consequently the fact, if it is a fact, that the universe began with the Big Bang about 15,000 million years ago is not relevant either. We also saw, however, that the idea that the universe had a beginning is also an element of the doctrine. Acceptance of the Big Bang as the beginning of the universe, then, is consistent with this part of the doctrine." (Gascoigne, R.M., "The History of the Creation: A Christian View of Inorganic and Organic Evolution," Fast Books: Sydney NSW, Australia, 1993, pp.50-51. Emphasis original) 1/06/2006 "Much more serious however was the suggestion that the universe might not be eternal, a suggestion that first took definite form after 1930 with the advent of the idea of the expanding universe. The German physicist, C.F. von Weizsacker, describes a notable example of the unease that was being felt on this point. [von Weizsacker, C.F,. "The Relevance of Science: Creation and Cosmogony," Collins: London, 1964, pp. 151-153] In 1938 he gave a talk in a colloquium at the University of Berlin on an astrophysical subject, and in his talk he mentioned the topical idea of the expansion of the universe and the resulting possibility that its age could be calculated. On this point, however, I met the violent opposition of the famous physico-chemist Walther Nernst who belonged to an older generation and who then held the chair of physics at the university. He said the view that there might be an age of the universe was not science. At first I did not understand him. He explained that the infinite duration of time was a basic element of all scientific thought, and to deny this would mean to betray the very foundations of science. Von Weizsacker goes on to say that what impressed him about Nernst was not his arguments but his anger. Why was he so angry? I think I was not mistaken in supposing that Nernst, as was usual with scientists of his generation, was not positively religious, and the conclusion seemed-and still seems - natural to me that in his frame of mind the everlasting universe had taken the place both of the eternal God and of the immortal soul ... I think a deeply irrational trait of scientism was revealed in his view: the world had taken the place of God, and it was blasphemy to deny it God's attributes. It is worth noting that Alexandre Koyre follows his description of the infinite and eternal universe, quoted above, with the remark that it "inherited all the ontological attributes of divinity." [Koyre, A., "From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe," Harper: New York, 1958, p.276]" (Gascoigne, R.M., "The History of the Creation: A Christian View of Inorganic and Organic Evolution," Fast Books: Sydney NSW, Australia, 1993, pp.51-52. Emphasis original) 1/06/2006 "Causes can be very difficult to find however. For the past dozen years or so intense theorizing has been going on about the very earliest instants of the Big Bang and about how it may have originated. [e.g. Davies, P.C.W., "The Mind of God," Simon & Schuster: London, 1992] It is very difficult to imagine how such theorizing can be subjected to experimental testing, except perhaps in highly indirect ways and even then the practical difficulties could well be enormous (and enormously expensive). A number of critics have expressed concern about this situation. One of them, after reviewing some of the current theory in this field, remarked: `The above mentioned far reaching speculations, practically removed from observational and experimental scrutiny and often dealing with essentially untestable propositions, are becoming increasingly fashionable in the scientific community, notwithstanding frequent formal declarations that testability and verifiability is the conditio sine qua non of science.' [Pacholczyk, A.G., "The Catastrophic Universe: An Essay in the Philosophy of Cosmology," Pachart: Tucson AZ, 1984, p.89] Another critic predicted that `increasing numbers of theorists will lose track of the essential role that experiment has played in shaping their science, and wander off into uncharted regions of philosophy and pure mathematics.' [Chodos, A., "String Fever," American Scientist, 74, 1986, pp.253-254, p.254] That seems to be what has happened. Though there is a plethora of theoretical speculations about the origin of the Big Bang there are no findings of any scientific solidity." (Gascoigne, R.M., "The History of the Creation: A Christian View of Inorganic and Organic Evolution," Fast Books: Sydney NSW, Australia, 1993, p.53) 1/06/2006 "A theologian would say that in attempting to discover the ultimate origin of the universe science will eventually come to the edge of a cognitive gulf that cannot be crossed. He would maintain that it is utterly beyond the capabilities of science to detect the activity of the Creator Himself, as distinct from the effects of His activity. The scientific tradition reacts vigorously, even angrily, to any suggestion that there are limits to science. Yet scientists are always surrounded by, and work within, such limits in the form of scientific laws; they are so used to the situation that they never notice it. Scientific laws, which are the foundations of all scientific thought, are empirical generalizations about the regular behaviour exhibited by innumerable aspects of nature. What causes this regular behaviour? Certainly not the laws: they only describe it. What causes the regularities that the laws describe? This is a perfectly proper question but it is not a scientific question. It points outside science to the cognitive gulf which surrounds it. Beyond that gulf is the Creator holding the universe in existence and bringing forth its regularities in accordance with His purposes." (Gascoigne, R.M., "The History of the Creation: A Christian View of Inorganic and Organic Evolution," Fast Books: Sydney NSW, Australia, 1993, p.54) 1/06/2006 "AFTER HAVING spent two sessions in Edinburgh, my father perceived or he heard from my sisters, that I did not like the thought of being a physician, so he proposed that I should become a clergyman. He was very properly vehement against my turning an idle sporting man, which then seemed my probable destination. I asked for some time to consider, as from what little I had heard and thought on the subject I had scruples about declaring my belief in all the dogmas of the Church of England; though otherwise I liked the thought of being a country clergyman. Accordingly I read with care Pearson on the Creed and a few other books on divinity; and as I did not then in the least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the Bible, I soon persuaded myself that our Creed must be fully accepted. It never struck me how illogical it was to say that I believed in what I could not understand and what is in fact unintelligible. I might have said with entire truth that I had no wish to dispute any dogma ; but I never was such a fool as to feel and say 'credo quia incredibile '. Considering how fiercely I have been attacked by the orthodox it seems ludicrous that I once intended to be a clergyman. Nor was this intention and my father's wish ever formally given up, but died a natural death when on leaving Cambridge I joined the Beagle as Naturalist." (Darwin, C.R., in Barlow, N., ed., "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809-1882: With Original Omissions Restored," , W.W. Norton & Co: New York, 1969, reprint, pp.56-57. Emphasis original) 1/06/2006 "Even bacteria provide examples of complex systems which pose a challenge to gradualistic explanations. Take, for example, the bacterial flagellum. This tiny microscopic hair, which has been observed by light microscopy for more than one century, has also only recently been elucidated. As a result, we now know that it has a completely different molecular structure to the cilia ... and recent research into the structure and function of this fascinating organelle has revealed that it possesses a remarkable property. It is the only structure in the entire living kingdom which exhibits a true rotary motion. Howard Berg described some of the latest research on the bacterial flagellum in an excellent Scientific American article in 1975. Unlike cilia which beat by the propagation of a wave from their base to their tip, the helical filaments which comprise the bacterial flagellum rotate rapidly like propellers and are driven by a reversible motor at their base. In Berg's words: `The evidence at hand suggests a model for the rotary motor in which the torque is generated between two elements in the basal body, the M ring and the S ring ... The rod (which is connected to the filament by the hook) is fixed rigidly to the M ring, which rotates freely in the cytoplasmic membrane. The S ring is mounted on the cell wall. (Note that the motor must be mounted rigidly somewhere on the cell wall if the torque is to be applied.) The torque could be generated by the active translocation of ions through the M ring to interact with charged groups on the surface of the S ring.' [Berg, H., "How Bacteria Swim," Scientific American, Vol. 233, No. 2, 1975, p.44] The bacterial flagellum and the rotary motor which drives it are not led up to gradually through a series of intermediate structures and, as is so often the case, it is very hard to envisage a hypothetical evolutionary sequence of similar rotors through which it might have evolved gradually." (Denton, M.J., "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis," Burnett Books: London, 1985, pp.223- 224) 1/06/2006 "The difficulties presented by this group of facts to the ordinary neo-Darwinian conceptions were, it seems, also realized by J. Huxley (1938) [Huxley, J.S. "Clines: an auxiliary taxonomic principle, Nature, Vol. 142, 1938, pp.219-221], though he otherwise defends the neo-Darwinian standpoint of slow selection of micromutations. He points especially to the ground finches (Geospizidae) of the Galapagos Islands, and their irregular behavior in regard to variation. He mentions that Swarth, the latest taxonomist to study the group, `after classifying them into five different genera with over thirty species and subspecies, adds that it would be almost as logical to put them all in one genus and species!'" (Goldschmidt, R.B., "The Material Basis of Evolution," , Yale University Press: New Haven CT, 1982, reprint, pp.208-209). 1/06/2006 "Microevolution by accumulation of micromutations-we may also say neo-Darwinian evolution-is a process which leads to diversification strictly within the species, usually, if not exclusively, for the sake of adaptation of the species to specific conditions within the area which it is able to occupy. This is the case for microevolution on the subspecific level of formation of geographical races or ecotypes. Below this level, microevolution has even less significance for evolution (local mutants, polymorphism, etc.). Subspecies are actually, therefore, neither incipient species nor models for the origin of species. They are more or less diversified blind alleys within the species. The decisive step in evolution, the first step toward macroevolution, the step from one species to another, requires another evolutionary method than that of sheer accumulation of micromutations. (Goldschmidt, R.B., "The Material Basis of Evolution," , Yale University Press: New Haven CT, 1982, reprint, p.183. Emphasis original). 1/06/2006 "Speciation, Goldschmidt argues, occurs at different rates and uses different kinds of genetic variation. We do not now accept all his arguments about the nature of variation, but his explicit anti-extrapolationist statement is the epitome and foundation of emerging views on speciation discussed in this section. There is a discontinuity in cause and explanation between adaptation in local populations and speciation; they represent two distinct, though interacting, levels of evolution. We might refer to this discontinuity as the Goldschmidt break, for he wrote: `The characters of subspecies are of a gradient type, the species limit is characterized by a gap, an unbridged difference in many characters. This gap cannot be bridged by theoretically continuing the subspecific gradient or cline beyond its actually existing limits. The subspecies do not merge into the species either actually or ideally .... Microevolution by accumulation of micromutations-we may also say neo-Darwinian evolution-is a process which leads to diversification strictly within the species, usually, if not exclusively, for the sake of adaptation of the species to specific conditions within the area which it is able to occupy .... Subspecies are actually, therefore, neither incipient species nor models for the origin of species. They are more or less diversified blind alleys within the species. The decisive step in evolution, the first step towards macroevolution, the step from one species to another, requires another evolutionary method than that of sheer accumulation of micromutations (1940, p. 183).'" (Gould, S.J., "Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging?" Paleobiology, Vol. 6, No. 1, January 1980, pp.119-130, pp.124-125) 2/06/2006 "These criticisms are so fundamental, so well founded, and have been made so frequently that even some of the most committed American evolutionists are in effect finally acknowledging that in many cases evidence for macro changes is not likely to be found. Paleontologists Steven Jay Gould, Niles Eldredge, and S. M. Stanley are now abandoning Darwin's slow-and-regular process as the major mode of species formation. They hypothesize instead that with many species evolution proceeds in sudden fits and starts and that then the species stabilize for long periods, perhaps until extinction. Gould calls this model `punctuated equilibrium.' The transition between species happens quickly (even a thousand years is a mere moment geologically) and in such small populations that there is virtually no chance of finding fossil evidence to fill those notorious gaps. Although Gould, Eldredge, and Stanley still consider themselves loyal Darwinians, their position is one of the clearest public repudiations of classical Darwinism yet made by professional paleontologists. Of course, for reasons of sentiment, they deny this, claiming Charlie D. was still correct in principle. But the fact remains that the mode and tempo of the evolutionary process advocated by Darwin is substantially different than that of the punctuationalists. Their willingness to take the fossil record as it exists is novel and laudable, but their proposed solution has peculiar implications. In agreeing that many species did appear (relatively) suddenly, Gould and company seem to have granted about half of the creationist position. Whether they care to acknowledge it or not, they have certainly granted the major point that critics like Dewar have been grumbling about for over a century." (Fix, W.R., "The Bone Peddlers: Selling Evolution," Macmillan: New York NY, 1984, pp.168-169) 2/06/2006 "Any profession that does not supply its own criticism and iconoclasm will discover that someone else will do the job, and usually in a way it does not like." (Macbeth, N., "Darwin Retried: An Appeal to Reason," Gambit: Boston MA, 1971, pp.150-151) 2/06/2006 "But the part of your letter which fairly pitched me head over heels with astonishment, is that where you state that every single difference which we see might have occurred without any selection. I do and have always fully agreed; but you have got right round the subject, and viewed it from an entirely opposite and new side, and when you took me there I was astounded. When I say I agree, I must make the proviso, that under your view, as now, each form long remains adapted to certain fixed conditions, and that the conditions of life are in the long run changeable; and second, which is more important, that each individual form is a self-fertilising hermaphrodite, so that each hair-breadth variation is not lost by intercrossing. Your manner of putting the case would be even more striking than it is if the mind could grapple with such numbers-it is grappling with eternity-think of each of a thousand seeds bringing forth its plant, and then each a thousand. A globe stretching to the furthest fixed star would very soon be covered. I cannot even grapple with the idea, even with races of dogs, cattle, pigeons, or fowls; and here all admit and see the accurate strictness of your illustration." (Darwin, C.R., Letter November 20th, 1862, to J.D. Hooker, in Darwin, F. & Seward, A.C., eds, "More Letters of Charles Darwin," John Murray: London, 1903, Vol. 1, pp.212-213) 2/06/2006 "Such men as you and Lyell thinking that I make too much of a Deus of Natural Selection is a conclusive argument against me. Yet I hardly know how I could have put in, in all parts of my book, stronger sentences. The title, as you once pointed out, might have been better. No one ever objects to agriculturalists using the strongest language about their selection, yet every breeder knows that he does not produce the modification which he selects. My enormous difficulty for years was to understand adaptation, and this made me, I cannot but think, rightly, insist so much on Natural Selection." (Darwin, C.R., Letter November 20th, 1862, to J.D. Hooker, in Darwin, F. & Seward, A.C., eds, "More Letters of Charles Darwin," John Murray: London, 1903, Vol. 1, pp.212-213). 2/06/2006 "Many people - probably most people - are reluctant to accept that even acts of self-sacrifice and saintliness are part of our genetic makeup. This is interesting in itself, and some sociobiologists argue that the capacity for self-deception, to convince yourself that you are not really acting to maximize your own success, may be a trait that has been selected for together with the altruistic way of life. We must be careful not to confuse genetic selfishness with everyday selfishness - self-sacrifice, for an individual, may be a form of genetic selfishness if, as in the case of a bird giving a warning cry, it helps copies of certain genes in other individuals. The bird might not be willing to make the sacrifice if it knew what was going on at the genetic level! Alexander is one who points out that our biology has led to the paradox that we are genetically selfish (like all species) and also dependent on social groups for our continuing success. How can we be both selfish and social at the same time? Why should individuals, in some cases, make the ultimate sacrifice for the good of copies of their genes in the bodies of other individuals? The resolution to the dilemma may be self-deception. The best liars are said to be those who delude themselves into believing their own lies; in the same way, the best social animals - the best altruists - may be those who delude themselves into believing that they are acting solely for the good of others.' (Gribbin, J.R. & Gribbin, M., "The One Per Cent Advantage: The Sociobiology of Being Human," Basil Blackwell: Oxford UK, 1988, p.127. Emphasis original) 2/06/2006 We come to the central theme of this book: The dispute about human sociobiology is a dispute about evidence. Friends of sociobiology see the "new synthesis" as an exciting piece of science, resting soundly on evidence and promising a wealth of new insights, including some that are relevant to human needs. To critical eyes, however, the same body of doctrine seems a mass of unfounded speculation, mischievous in covering socially harmful suggestions with the trappings and authority of science. From this perspective it might appear that the political considerations could be left behind. After all, if all reasonable people agree that we must accept hypotheses as the evidence dictates, then the fact that the hypotheses under study can readily be connected with political controversies can be disregarded. The issue reduces to a question about truth, pure and simple. Algernon Moncrieff's reminder is apposite-the truth is rarely pure and never simple. Everybody ought to agree that, given sufficient evidence for some hypothesis about humans, we should accept that hypothesis whatever its political implications. But the question of what counts as sufficient evidence is not independent of the political consequences. If the costs of being wrong are sufficiently high, then it is reasonable and responsible to ask for more evidence than is demanded in situations where mistakes are relatively innocuous. In the free-for-all of scientific research, ideas are often tossed out, tentatively accepted, and only subsequently subjected to genuinely rigorous tests. Arguably, the practice of bold overgeneralization contributes to the efficient working of science as a community enterprise: hypotheses for which there is "some evidence" or, perhaps, "reasonably good evidence" become part of the public fund of ideas, are integrated with other hypotheses, criticized, refined, and sometimes discarded. Yet when the hypotheses in question bear on human concerns, the exchange cannot be quite so cavalier. If a single scientist, or even the whole community of scientists, comes to adopt an incorrect view of the origins of a distant galaxy, an inadequate model of foraging behavior in ants, or a crazy explanation of the extinction of the dinosaurs, then the mistake will not prove tragic. By contrast, if we are wrong about the bases of human social behavior, if we abandon the goal of a fair distribution of the benefits and burdens of society because we accept faulty hypotheses about ourselves and our evolutionary history, then the consequences of a scientific mistake may be grave indeed." (Kitcher, P., "Vaulting Ambition: Sociobiology and the Quest for Human Nature," MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1985, Third printing, 1990, pp.8-9. Emphasis original) 2/06/2006 "Sociobiology has two faces. One looks toward the social behavior of nonhuman animals. The eyes are carefully focused, the lips pursed judiciously. Utterances are made only with caution. The other face is almost hidden behind a megaphone. With great excitement, pronouncements about human nature blare forth. ... We have seen again and again how the assertions about human nature begin with unrigorous analyses of fitness, how they deal loosely with data about animal and human behavior, how they employ problematic concepts, how they rely on dubious connections between optimality and selection, how they offer spurious arguments for the inflexibility of the phenotype. Cataloging these errors is important because the effects of accepting the pop sociobiological view of human nature are grave. That view fosters the idea that class structures are socially inevitable, that aggressive impulses toward strangers are part of our evolutionary heritage, that there are ineradicable differences between the sexes that doom women's hopes for genuine equality. None of these ideas should be adopted lightly. As I argued at the beginning of my discussion, the true political problem with socially relevant science is that the grave consequences of error enforce the need for higher standards of evidence. In the case of pop sociobiology, commonly accepted standards are ignored. The mistakes merely threaten to stifle the aspirations of millions." (Kitcher, P., "Vaulting Ambition: Sociobiology and the Quest for Human Nature," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1985, Third printing, p.435. Emphasis original) 2/06/2006 "The theory of sexual selection is a particularly flexible and powerful form of adaptive argument and has been wielded with great ingenuity by sociobiologists, in what Barash has called, with unusual candor, playing `Let's Pretend.' [Barash, D.P., " Sociobiology and Behavior," Elsevier: New York, 1977, p.277] As an example of how sociobiological theory can explain anything, no matter how contradictory, by a little mental gymnastics, let us consider the paradox of feminine adornment and male drabness in the human species. The theory of sexual selection predicts that, in general, males should be the more brightly colored and highly adorned, while females should be drab, as is in fact the case among most bird species. Yet, in Western culture at least, the reverse seems true. Does this falsify the theory of sexual selection? Not at all. It is, according to Symons's The Evolution of Human Sexuality, just what one would expect. Females' probable reproductive success is advertised by their outward appearance (large breasts, wide hips), which women will then accentuate. Male drabness, on the other hand, demonstrates that the male is conservative and therefore likely to be a good provider economically. Moreover, males who adorn themselves are likely to be promiscuous and may abandon their families. Finally, women have been selected to be sexually attractive as a means of controlling men. "In the West, as in all human societies, copulation is usually a female service or favor. " [Symons, D., "The Evolution of Human Sexuality," Oxford University Press: New York, 1981, p.202] (In reading sociobiology one has the constant feeling of being a voyeur, peeping into the autobiographical memoirs of its proponents.) Since "hominid females evolved in a milieu in which physical and political power was wielded by adult males," [Ibid., p.203] "women evolved to use their assets to their own advantage." [Ibid., p.204] Finally, if none of these arguments is convincing, we are reminded that Western environments are artificial, so perhaps human sexual behavior is temporarily nonadaptive, and the problem disappears." (Lewontin, R.C., Rose, S. & Kamin, L.J., "Not in Our Genes: Biology, Ideology, and Human Nature," Penguin: Harmondsworth, Middlesex UK, 1984, pp.259-260) 2/06/2006 "The combination of direct selection, kin selection, and reciprocal altruism provides the sociobiologist with a battery of speculative possibilities that guarantees an explanation for every observation. The system is unbeatable because it is insulated from any possibility of being contradicted by fact. If one is allowed to invent genes with arbitrarily complicated effects on phenotype and then to invent adaptive stories about the unrecoverable past of human history, all phenomena, real and imaginary, can be explained: Even the most reductionist of sociobiologists sometimes become conscious of the possibility that adaptive storytelling belongs more in the realm of games than of natural science. Dawkins confesses that `there is no end to the fascinating speculation which the idea of reciprocal altruism engenders when we apply it to our own species. Tempting as it is, I am no better at such speculation than the next man, and I leave the reader to entertain himself.' [Dawkins, R., "The Selfish Gene," Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1976, p.202]" (Lewontin, R.C., Rose, S. & Kamin, L.J., "Not in Our Genes: Biology, Ideology, and Human Nature," Penguin: Harmondsworth, Middlesex UK, 1984, pp.261-262) 2/06/2006 "Critics of evolutionary theory are sometimes inclined to try a quick line of indictment: evolutionary theory, they claim, is methodologically bad science, perhaps even `pseudoscience.' Ironically, evolutionary theorists who oppose pop sociobiology often make similar remarks. Our first task should be to advance beyond the sloganeering to the serious issues. There are slogans for all seasons, and for our time the magic word has been `falsifiable.' Thanks to the influence of Sir Karl Popper, many scientists are convinced that there is an important distinction between science and pseudoscience, that real science is falsifiable while pseudoscience is unfalsifiable. Challenged by critics who dispute the status of evolutionary theory, prominent scientists rise to the bait and give much energy to the task of specifying statements that, if true, would falsify evolutionary theory. As if purposely to confuse an already obscure situation, however, some of those who insist on the methodological purity of evolutionary theory lambaste sociobiology as unfalsifiable and thus condemn it as pseudoscience. There results the undeniable impression that a double standard has been applied." (Kitcher, P., "Vaulting Ambition: Sociobiology and the Quest for Human Nature," MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1985, Third printing, 1990, p.58) 2/06/2006 "To appreciate the need for a different methodological perspective, let us briefly consider the failure of struggles to show that evolutionary theory is falsifiable. A much-quoted passage from the Origin inspires defenders of evolutionary theory to claim that Darwin himself recognized the importance of falsifiability: Darwin's statement far antedated methodologies proposed and made prominent by contemporary philosophers of science, some of whom have doubted the validity of evolution as a scientific theory because of what they see as the absence of suitable falsifying propositions or operations. Darwin said the following: `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.' This challenge is one of several which showed that Darwin was trying to postulate ways in which his theory could be falsified. ... Anyone seriously worried about the falsifiability of evolutionary theory will regard as grotesque the suggestion that we might `demonstrate' the existence of a complex organ that `could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive slight modifications.' How could we demonstrate any such thing? The precise point made by Darwin's detractors was that evolutionary theory had ready- made strategies for accommodating any possible observations of animals, plants, and rock strata. Fleeming Jenkin catalogued the resources he took to be available to the committed evolutionist: `He can invent trains of ancestors of whose existence there is no evidence; he can marshal hosts of equally imaginary foes; he can call up continents, floods, and peculiar atmospheres, he can dry up oceans, split islands, and parcel out eternity at will; surely with these advantages he must be a dull fellow if he cannot scheme some series of animals and circumstances explaining our assumed difficulty quite naturally.' [Jenkin, F., "Review of `The origin of species'." The North British Review, June 1867, 46, pp. 277-318, 293]" (Kitcher, P., "Vaulting Ambition: Sociobiology and the Quest for Human Nature," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1985, Third printing, pp.60-61. Emphasis original) 2/06/2006 "Between the single comprehensive act of the creation of the angels and of chaotic matter, mentioned in Gen. 1:1, and the series of Divine fiats in the six days, described in Gen. 1:3-31, an interval of time elapsed. This is the old patristic interpretation. The very common assertion, that the church has altered its exegesis, under the compulsion of modern geology, is one of the errors of ignorance. The doctrine of all immense time, prior to the six creative days, was a common view among the fathers and schoolmen. So also was the doctrine of the rarefied and chaotic nature of matter in its first form, a patristic tenet. Kant's gaseous chaos filling the universe, adopted by La Place and Herschel, was taught, for substance, by Augustine, in the following positions taken in Confessions, XII. viii. 1. God created a chaotic matter that was `next to nothing;' that is, the most tenuous and imponderable form of matter. 2. This chaotic matter was made from nothing `before all days;' that is, in that prior period marked by the wolds `in the beginning.' 3. This chaotic unformed matter was subsequently formed and arranged, in the six days that are spoken of after Gen. 1:1. Augustine's exegesis of the first chapter of Genesis is substantially this: In the beginning, that is, in a time prior to the six days, God created ex nihilo, the angelic world, or `the heaven,' and chaotic inorganic matter, of `the earth.' Then in the six days he formed (not created) chaotic inorganic matter into a cosmical system, solar, stellar, and planetary, and upon the planet earth created (not formed) the organic vegetable, animal, and human species. This was the interpretation generally accepted in the patristic and middle ages. " (Shedd, W.G.T., "Dogmatic Theology," , Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 1969, Vol. I, reprint, pp.474-475) 3/06/2006 "In a way, the ground had been very well prepared for someone who wished to advance a theory of evolution. Why, then, did Darwin wait so long to publish his evolutionary ideas? Why, when he finally published the Origin in 1859, did he remain so circumspect about man and mind? Were his fears and hesitations justified? ... Does all this mean that Darwin's fears were groundless or that he was a cowardly man who retreated in the face of danger? To understand his predicament and his strategy of delay and concealment, a closer look at the subject is required. His theoretical efforts must be seen not only in the context of the search for a theory of evolution, but also in relation to the problem of materialism. Darwin realized that it would weaken his whole argument if he permitted his account of evolution to stop short of the highest forms of intelligence. Once he admitted that God might have intervened in an act of special creation to make man's mind, others might argue, `In that case, why not also invoke the aid of God to explain the worm?'" (Gruber, H.E., "Darwin on Man: A Psychological Study of Scientific Creativity," together with Barrett, P.H., "Darwin's Early and Unpublished Notebooks," E.P. Dutton & Co: New York NY, 1974, pp.201- 201) 3/06/2006 "Calculation of the probability that a reproductive chemical was formed by chance requires a knowledge of the rate at which relevant random reactions occurred, and the length of time they continued. Neither figure is well established - especially the first - and no realistic calculation of the information-generating power of the environment can be made. On the other hand, it is possible to set optimistic upper limits to the reaction rate and the available time, and then to derive the maximum possible value of Hr permitted under the assumptions made. Assuming that the early waters of Earth contained 10^44 carbon atoms (Suess, 1975), it is optimistic to take the number of amino acid molecules as 10^43. If these molecules were linked in random sequences of average length 10, there would be about 10^42 peptide chains. If the mean lifetime against extension or breakage for the average chain were 10 milliseconds, and the action continued for 500 million years, the total number of [different] peptides formed would be ... 2.75 x 10^58 ... and the corresponding information content is ... 194 bits. If the calculations are made for nucleic acids instead of peptides, the result is substantially the same." (Argyle, E., "Chance and the Origin Of Life," in Zuckerman, B. & Hart, M.H., "Extraterrestrials: Where Are They?," , Cambridge University Press: New York, Second edition, 1995, pp.130-131) 3/06/2006 "It would seem impossible for the prebiotic Earth to have generated more than about 200 bits of information, an amount that falls short of the 6 million bits in E. coli by a factor of 30 000. A natural attempt to save the scenario is to postulate a simpler first cell. However, there is little to be gained through this proposal. An average virus codes about 2% as much information as E. coli (120 000 bits) and is not capable of reproducing in an abiotic environment. Rather it must subvert the metabolic machinery of a regular cell for materials, energy and protein synthesis. It is difficult to imagine an independently reproductive cell as simple as a virus (Watson, 1970-1), and even if one can, it helps little to bridge the enormous information gap between chemistry and life. Parenthetically, it is interesting to note that if the probability of the chance appearance of life on Earth seems remote, there is little comfort to be gained by enlarging the arena to the whole Galaxy. Even if there are 10^9 Earth-like planets in the Milky Way, the potential for random generation of information rises only to 224 bits - less than 0.2% of the content of the average virus. Even one gene of average length encodes about 2400 bits, so it is not useful to speak of a primitive naked gene that reproduced unless it was so short that it specified a protein of no more than about 33 amino acids. Whether one prefers to think of the first nucleic acid, the first gene, the first protein or the first enzyme as the unique structure that began life, there is the difficulty of visualizing the way so small a molecule could have commanded the environment to its selective reproduction. If life on Earth had a spontaneous origin, there must have been an intermediate mechanism that was capable of augmenting the information content of one or a few early molecules up to the million-bit level required by the first organism. ... . If the 200-bit figure is seriously in error, it is too large. If the true figure is less than half this upper limit, it will probably be necessary to discover information-generating mechanisms beyond those discussed here." (Argyle, E., "Chance and the Origin Of Life," in Zuckerman, B. & Hart, M.H., "Extraterrestrials: Where Are They?," , Cambridge University Press: New York, Second edition, 1995, pp.131, 137) 3/06/2006 "However, proto-darwinian systems lack one important feature of darwinian populations - safeguards against hybridization. Two divergently evolved chemical communities spilling into a common pool would unavoidably hybridize if their pathways contained any common segments, as would seem very likely. For example, if there had been divergent evolution of genetic codes the indiscriminate mixing of nucleic acids would thwart the interlocking specificities so laboriously built up over their histories and would waste resources prodigiously. This difficult would dog the path of proto-darwinian evolution until some means of collecting and sheltering a reproductive set of chemicals was evolved. ... It is easy to suggest ways in which a reproductive set of chemicals might clump together in relative isolation from the rest of the community. The difficulty is to have the isolation partial in just the way that permits essential precursor molecules to enter the enclave but prohibits the loss of genetic material until it can be discharged in a self-reproductive clump. That this partial isolation is not easy to specify is just the problem of the origin of life. It probably required a million bits of information, and it is the burden of this chapter that that information might have been generated by the proto-darwinian evolution of a reproductive community that began with less than 200 bits of randomly generated information." (Argyle, E., "Chance and the Origin Of Life," in Zuckerman, B. & Hart, M.H., "Extraterrestrials: Where Are They?," , Cambridge University Press: New York, Second edition, 1995, pp.136-137. Emphasis original) 3/06/2006 "The shortcomings of this scheme to start some kind of rapid information-generating process in the prebiotic soup are too obvious to ignore. The broth is speciously thick and the prospects of the first community are precarious in the extreme. ... Improbable structures can be formed by random trials if the latter are sufficiently numerous. Information theory simplifies the task of separating the possible from the impossible by reducing structural complexity and experimental prodigality alike to a common informational measure expressed in bits. The calculation of the information-generating power of the Earth's primitive hydrosphere offered here is neither precise nor definitive. Rather it is suggestive that there is an enormous information gap between the products of a random chemistry and the simplest imaginable reproducing organism. It seems futile to force darwinian evolution backwards through simpler and simpler organisms to one whose structure could have been the outcome of random trials. Instead it is proposed that special molecules that arose by chance formed a reproductive community of sufficient vigor to start a proto- darwinian evolution that dominated its development. Proto-darwinian evolution will have been significant for the origin of life if at least one reproductive chemical community can be specified by not more than 200 bits of information, and does not lie in an evolutionary cul-de-sac. If the 200-bit figure is seriously in error, it is too large. If the true figure is less than half this upper limit, it will probably be necessary to discover information-generating mechanisms beyond those discussed here. " (Argyle, E., "Chance and the Origin Of Life," in Zuckerman, B. & Hart, M.H., "Extraterrestrials: Where Are They?," , Cambridge University Press: New York, Second edition, 1995, p.137) 4/06/2006 "That individual kinds of fossils remain recognizably the same throughout the length of their occurrence in the fossil record had been known to paleontologists long before Darwin published his Origin. Darwin himself, troubled by the stubbornness of the fossil record in refusing to yield abundant examples of gradual change, devoted two chapters to the fossil record. To preserve his argument he was forced to assert that the fossil record was too incomplete, too full of gaps, to produce the expected patterns of change. He prophesied that future generations of paleontologists would fill in these gaps by diligent search and then his major thesis-that evolutionary change is gradual and progressive-would be vindicated. One hundred and twenty years of paleontological research later, it has become abundantly clear that the fossil record will not confirm this part of Darwin's predictions. Nor is the problem a miserably poor record. The fossil record simply shows that this prediction was wrong." (Eldredge, N. & Tattersall, I., "The Myths of Human Evolution," Columbia University Press: New York NY, 1982, pp.45-46) 4/06/2006 "The observation that species are amazingly conservative and static entities throughout long periods of time has all the qualities of the emperor's new clothes: everyone knew it but preferred to ignore it. Paleontologists, faced with a recalcitrant record obstinately refusing to yield Darwin's predicted pattern, simply looked the other way. Rather than challenge well-entrenched evolutionary theory, paleontologists tacitly agreed with their zoological colleagues that the fossil record was too poor to do much with beyond supporting, in a general sort of way, the basic thesis that life had evolved. Only recently has a substantial number of paleontologists blown the whistle and started to look at the evolutionary implications of the marked pattern of nonchange-of stability-within species so dominant in the fossil record of life." (Eldredge, N. & Tattersall, I., "The Myths of Human Evolution," Columbia University Press: New York NY, 1982, p.46. Emphasis original) 4/06/2006 "But without direct evidence of such reproductive continuity, how are we to call our groups of similar fossils `species'? The answer comes from the old naturalists' view of species fixity in the modern world-the simple observation that there are fundamental units, or kinds, that everyone calls `species,' and which come in the form of separate, usually easily differentiated `packages.' Individuals within species mostly all look pretty much alike and look rather different from members of other species, including their closest relatives. There are exceptions, such as closely related species which are confusingly similar but which nonetheless form separate reproductive communities. And some species are notoriously variable, spread out over a wide area of diverse habitats. But the overall picture is clear: the separate reproductive communities we call species are the same as the clusters of similar individuals that the old-time naturalists called species." (Eldredge, N. & Tattersall, I., "The Myths of Human Evolution," Columbia University Press: New York NY, 1982, p.46. Emphasis original) 4/06/2006 "Species, in other words, seem to be relatively static. There is frequently more variation throughout the geographic spread of a species at any one point in time than will be accrued through a span of 5 million or 10 million years. This observation has two simple consequences, both of tremendous importance to evolutionary theory. First, Darwin's prediction of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time is refuted. The record is there, and the record speaks for tremendous anatomical conservatism. Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record. The second simple consequence is the observation that species are stable and remain discrete, in time as well as space. They are individuals in the true sense of the word: they have beginnings, histories, and, ultimately, ends. During their life spans they may or may not give rise to one or more descendant species, just as humans may or may not produce children during the course of their lifetimes. To make a case for evolution, Darwin argued against the fixity, meaning reality, of species. Zoologists later returned to the notion that species are discrete, real entities in space, but continued to deny their individuality through time. It is now abundantly clear that species are real entities-individuals-in the fullest sense of the word. And it is these spatio- temporally discrete units which are the ancestors and descendants in evolution." (Eldredge, N. & Tattersall, I., `The Myths of Human Evolution," Columbia University Press: New York NY, 1982, pp.47-48) 4/06/2006 "In short, we now have direct evidence of life in the oldest rocks that could contain it. And, by reasonably strong inference, we have reason to believe that a major radiation of methanogens predated these photosynthesizing monerans. Life probably arose about as soon as the earth became cool enough to support it." (Gould, S.J., "An Early Start," in "The Panda's Thumb," , Penguin: London, 1990, reprint, p.187) 4/06/2006 "Two closing thoughts, admittedly reflecting my personal prejudices: First, as a strong adherent to exobiology, that great subject without a subject matter (only theology may exceed us in this), I am delighted by the thought that life may be more intrinsic to planets of our size, position and composition than we had ever dared to imagine. I feel even more certain that we are not alone, and I hope that more effort will be directed toward the search for other civilizations by radio-telescope. The difficulties are legion, but a positive result would be the most stupendous discovery in human history." (Gould, S.J., "An Early Start," in "The Panda's Thumb," , Penguin: London, 1990, reprint, p.187) 4/06/2006 "Secondly, I am led to wonder why the old, discredited orthodoxy of gradual origin ever gained such strong and general assent. Why did it seem so reasonable? Certainly not because any direct evidence supported it. I am ... an advocate of the position that science is not an objective, truth-directed machine, but a quintessentially human activity, affected by passions, hopes, and cultural biases. Cultural traditions of thought strongly influence scientific theories often directing lines of speculation, especially ... when virtually no data exist to constrain either imagination or prejudice. In my own work ... I have been impressed by the powerful and unfortunate influence that gradualism has exerted on paleontology via the old motto natura non facit saltum (`nature does not make leaps'). Gradualism, the idea that all change must be smooth, slow, and steady, was never read from the rocks. It represented a common cultural bias, in part a response of nineteenth-century liberalism to a world in revolution. But it continues to color our supposedly objective reading of life's history." (Gould, S.J., "An Early Start," in "The Panda's Thumb," , Penguin: London, 1990, reprint, pp.187-188) 4/06/2006 "In the light of gradualistic presuppositions, what other interpretation could have been placed upon the origin of life? It is an enormous step from the constituents of our original atmosphere to a DNA molecule. Therefore, the transition must have progressed laboriously through multitudes of intervening steps, one at a time, over billions of years. But the history of life, as I read it, is a series of stable states, punctuated at rare intervals by major events that occur with great rapidity and help to establish the next stable era. Prokaryotes ruled the earth for three billion years until the Cambrian explosion, when most major designs of multicellular life appeared within ten million years. Some 375 million years later, about half the families of invertebrates became extinct within a few million years. The earth's history may be modeled as a series of occasional pulses, driving recalcitrant systems from one stable state to the next. Physicists tell us that the elements may have formed during the first few minutes of the big bang; billions of subsequent years have only reshuffled the products of this cataclysmic creation. Life did not arise with such speed, but I suspect that it originated in a tiny fraction of its subsequent duration. But the reshuffling and subsequent evolution of DNA have not simply recycled the original products; they have produced wonders" (Gould, S.J., "An Early Start," in "The Panda's Thumb," , Penguin: London, 1990, reprint, p.187-188) 4/06/2006 "Yet Darwin was so wedded to gradualism that he wagered his entire theory on a denial of this literal record: `The geological record is extremely imperfect and this fact will to a large extent explain why we do not find interminable varieties, connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps. He who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record will rightly reject my whole theory.' [Darwin, C.R., "The Origin of Species," 1872, Sixth Edition, Senate: London, 1994, pp.312-313] Darwin's argument still persists as the favored escape of most paleontologists from the embarrassment of a record that seems to show so little of evolution directly. In exposing its cultural and methodological roots, I wish in no way to impugn the potential validity of gradualism (for all general views have similar roots). I wish only to point out that it was never `seen' in the rocks." (Gould, S.J., "The Episodic Nature of Evolutionary Change," "The Panda's Thumb," , Penguin: London, 1990, reprint, p.151) 4/06/2006 "Many evolutionists view strict continuity between micro- and macroevolution as an essential ingredient of Darwinism and a necessary corollary of natural selection. Yet ... Thomas Henry Huxley divided the two issues of natural selection and gradualism and warned Darwin that his strict and unwarranted adherence to gradualism might undermine his entire system. The fossil record with its abrupt transitions offers no support for gradual change, and the principle of natural selection does not require it - selection can operate rapidly. Yet the unnecessary link that Darwin forged became a central tenet of the synthetic theory." (Gould, S.J., "The Return of the Hopeful Monster," in "The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1990, reprint, p.156) 4/06/2006 "Rather than taking the record literally, we have dismissed the lack of change within species as merely the artifacts of an imperfect record. But the time has come to ask, instead, if the record isn't telling us something that our theories ought to be able to explain - rather than explain away. ... The record jumps, and all the evidence shows that the record is real: the gaps we see reflect real events in life's history - not the artifact of a poor fossil record." (Eldredge, N. & Tattersall, I., "The Myths of Human Evolution," Columbia University Press: New York NY, 1982, pp.58-59) 4/06/2006 "I count myself among the evolutionists who argue for a jerky, or episodic, rather than a smoothly gradual, pace of change. In 1972 my colleague Niles Eldredge and I developed the theory of punctuated equilibrium. We argued that two outstanding facts of the fossil record-geologically `sudden' origin of new species and failure to change thereafter (stasis)-reflect the predictions of evolutionary theory, not the imperfections of the fossil record." (Gould, S.J., "Evolution as Fact and Theory," in "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes," Penguin: London, 1984, p.259) 4/06/2006 "How Many of These Planets Would Have Been Suitable for the Origin of Life? There are evidently rather narrow constraints for the possibility of the origin of life on a planet. There has to be a favorable average temperature; the seasonal variation should not be too extreme; the planet must have a suitable distance from its sun; it must have the appropriate mass so that its gravity can hold an atmosphere; this atmosphere must have the right chemical composition to support early life; it must have the necessary consistency to protect the new life against ultraviolet and other harmful radiations; and there must be water on such a planet. In other words, all environmental conditions must be suitable for the origin and maintenance of life. One of the nine planets of our solar system had the right kind of mixture of these factors. This, surely, was a matter of chance. What fraction of planets in other solar systems will have an equally suitable combination of environmental factors? Would it be 1 in 10, or 1 in 100, or 1 in 1 000 000? It depends on one's optimism which figure one will choose. It is always difficult to extrapolate from a single instance." (Mayr, E.W., "The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence," in Zuckerman, B. & Hart, M.H., "Extraterrestrials: Where Are They?," , Cambridge University Press: New York, Second edition, 1995, p.152. Emphasis original) 4/06/2006 "What Percentage of Planets on Which Life Has Originated Will Produce Intelligent Life? Physicists, on the whole, will answer this question differently from biologists. Physicists still tend to think more deterministically than biologists. They will say: if life has originated somewhere, it will also develop intelligence in due time. The biologist, on the other hand, is impressed by the improbability of such a development. Life originated on Earth about 3.8 billion years ago, but high intelligence did not develop until about half a million years ago. If the Earth had been temporarily cooled down or heated up too much during these 3.8 billion years, intelligence would never have originated." (Mayr, E.W., "The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence," in Zuckerman, B. & Hart, M.H., "Extraterrestrials: Where Are They?," , Cambridge University Press: New York, Second edition, 1995, p.152. Emphasis original) 4/06/2006 "After the origin of life, i.e. 3.8 billion years ago, life on Earth consisted for 2 billion years only of simple prokaryotes, cells without an organized nucleus. These bacteria and their relatives developed surely 50-100 different (some perhaps very different) lineages, but none of them led to intelligence in this enormously long time. Owing to an astonishing, unique event that is even today only partially explained, 1800 million years ago the first eukaryote originated, a creature with a well-organized nucleus and the other characteristics of `higher' organisms. From the rich world of the protists (consisting of only a single cell) there eventually originated three groups of multicellular organisms: the fungi, the plants and the animals. But none of the millions of species of fungi and plants was able to produce intelligence." (Mayr, E.W., "The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence," in Zuckerman, B. & Hart, M.H., "Extraterrestrials: Where Are They?," , Cambridge University Press: New York, Second edition, 1995, pp.153-154) 4/06/2006 "When a paleontologist is asked how many mass extinctions there have been, the invariable answer is five: one each in the Ordovician [~450 mya], Devonian [~365 mya], Permian [~250 mya], Triassic [~200 mya], and Cretaceous [~65 mya] periods-events known as the Big Five. When asked what went on in between, he or she usually replies that there was a continuous, low level extinction called "background" with, perhaps, a few pulses above background but not large enough to be called mass extinctions." (Raup, D.M., "Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck?," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1993, reprint, pp.65-66. Parentheses mine) 4/06/2006 "Evolutionists seem to be especially prone to this mistake. The claim that evolution is purposeless and undirected has become almost an article of faith among evolutionary biologists. For example, the official `Statement on Teaching Evolution' from the National Association of Biology Teachers describes evolution as `an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable, and natural process.' That pretty much rules God out of the picture. One popular book on evolution, Richard Dawkins's Blind Watchmaker, is subtitled Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design. In his book Wonderful Life, Stephen Jay Gould argues that the evolution of human beings was fantastically improbable and that a host of unlikely events had to fall out in just the right way for intelligent life to emerge on this planet. One might well take this as a sign of God's hand at work in the evolutionary process. Gould, however, bends his argument to the opposite conclusion that the universe is indifferent to our existence and that humans would never evolve a second time if we rewound time's videotape and started over. But to reach this conclusion, you have to assume the very thing that you are trying to prove: namely, that history isn't directed by God. If there is a God, whatever he wills happens by necessity. Because we can't really replay the same stretch of time to see if it always comes out the same way, science has no tests for the presence of God's will in history. Gould's conclusion is a profession of his religious beliefs, not a finding of science. The broad outlines of the story of human evolution are known beyond a reasonable doubt. However, science hasn't yet found satisfying, law-based natural explanations for most of the details of that story. All that we scientists can do is admit to our ignorance and keep looking. Our ignorance doesn't prove anything one way or the other about divine plans or purposes behind the flow of history. Anybody who says it does is pushing a religious doctrine. " (Cartmill, M., "Oppressed by Evolution," Discover, Vol. 19, No. 3, March 1998) 5/06/2006 "It has been a truism for most of this century,' A.H. Brush (Physiology and Neurobiology, University of Connecticut) notes, `that feathers are related to reptilian scales.' Yet, he continues, `the molecular evidence questions the simple, direct relation of the specialized structures of birds to reptile scale. I will provide arguments to show that reptile scales and feathers are related only by the fact that their origin is in epidermal tissue. Every feature from gene structure and organization, to development, morphogenesis and tissue organization is different' (p.132). Feathers appear suddenly in the fossil record, Brush observes, as an `undeniably unique' character distinguishing birds (p. 133). Current approaches to the origin of feathers, Brush worries, tend to focus `on why feathers evolved or where feathers came from. At this juncture neither is as illuminating as to ask how they arose' (p. 133). Brush examines the protein structure of bird feathers and argues that it is `unique among vertebrates,' with the `ancestral reptilian epidermal structure...still unidentified' (p. 131). He concludes: `At the morphological level feathers are traditionally considered homologous with reptilian scales. However, in development, morphogenesis, gene structure, protein shape and sequence, and filament formation and structure, feathers are different. Clearly, feathers provide a unique and outstanding example of an evolutionary novelty (p. 140)." ("The Enigmatic Origin of Feathers", Origins & Design, Vol. 17, No. 2, Spring 1996, p17. http://www.arn.org/docs/odesign/od172/ls172.htm) 5/06/2006 "Yet palaeontologists persist in doing just this. They rally under the banner of a methodology called cladistics, in which family trees of living and fossil primates are constructed on the basis of "primitive" and "derived" traits (mostly of teeth and bones), which are either shared or not shared. Shared primitive characteristics are shared because they come from a common ancestor; unshared derived characteristics reveal separate evolutionary paths. The subjective element in this approach to building evolutionary trees, which many palaeontologists advocate with almost religious fervour, is demonstrated by the outcome: there is no single family tree on which they agree. On the contrary, almost every conceivable combination and permutation of living and extinct hominoids has been proposed by one cladist or another." (Lowenstein, J. & Zihlman, A., "The Invisible ape," New Scientist, Vol 120, 3 December 1988, pp.56-59, p.58). 5/06/2006 "The main opponent of the dinosaur theory championed by Ostrom and Gauthier is ornithologist Alan Feduccia of the University of North Carolina. "Ornithologists just see Archaeopteryx as a primitive bird, with no connection to dinosaurs or anything; these dinosaurologists see it as a little dinosaur," he says. "Well, I've studied bird skulls for 25 years and I don't see any similarity whatsoever. I just don't see it." How certain is he that birds are not descended from dinosaurs? "The theropod origin of birds, in my opinion, will be the greatest embarrassment of palaeontology of the 20th century," he declares. Larry Martin, an expert in the anatomy of archaic birds at the University of Kansas, also opposes the dinosaur theory. Martin initially accepted that features such as the bony structures of the wrist, hand, ankle and hindlimb proved a close affinity between birds and dinosaurs. But after re-examining these characters in the mid-1970s he argued that many palaeontologists are misled into finding similarities by their ignorance of avian anatomy. "To tell you the truth, if I had to support the dinosaur origin of birds with those characters, I'd be embarrassed every time I had to get up and talk about it," he says." (Shipman P., "Birds do it...did dinosaurs?", New Scientist, Vol 153, 1 February 1997, p.28) 5/06/2006 "Feduccia and Martin, however, remain deeply dubious about the identification of the alleged feathers. "There is a 99 per cent chance it's incorrect," says Feduccia, unable to conceive how a tissue so well designed for flight could have evolved initially to serve another purpose. "Everything about them indicates an aerodynamic function," he says. "They're lightweight, they're excellent airfoils, they produce high lift at low speeds, and they have a Velcro-like quality that lets them be reassembled. Feathers have an almost magical construction which is all aerodynamic in function. It would be gross evolutionary overkill to produce feathers like this for insulating a hot-blooded dino." But this view will be seriously challenged if it turns out that the Chinese dinosaur, like Archaeopteryx, has completely modern feathers." (Shipman P., "Birds do it ... did dinosaurs?" New Scientist, 1 February 1997, pp.26-31, p.30) 5/06/2006 "The appearance of feathers defines the appearance of birds. A number of changes defined, preceded or accompanied the event. The changes were hierarchical in nature and included revolutions in genomic organization (i.e., HOX and the feather keratin genes), protein sequence and shape, the large scale organization of proteins into filaments, and in the geometry of the cells and their roles in the follicle. Changes at each of these levels differ or produced different products than found in its analog in reptiles. They are essentially unique to birds and produced an evolutionary novelty. I used analysis of extant structure and information on development to reconstruct key events in the evolution of feathers. The ancestral reptilian epidermal structure, while probably a scale or tubercles, is still unidentified. The structural genes of feather proteins (phi- keratin) are tandem repeats probably assembled from preexisting exons. They are unlike the alpha-keratin of vertebrate soft epidermis. Amino-acid composition, shape, and behavior of feather keratins are unique among vertebrates. The 3-dimensional organization of the follicle and the developmental processes are also unique. Although we lack a complete understanding of the appearance and early role of feathers, they are clearly the results of novel events." (Brush A.H., "On the origin of feathers," Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Vol. 9, 1996, pp.131-142, pp.131-132) 5/06/2006 "I will provide arguments to show that reptilian scales and feathers are related only by the fact that their origin is in epidermal tissue. Every feature from gene structure and organization, to development, morphogenesis and tissue organization is different. I believe that while there is phenotypic similarity in some scales, that feathers are unique to birds and deserve consideration as an evolutionary novelty." (Brush, 1996, p.132) 5/06/2006 "It is clear that the appearance of novel structures requires simultaneous and important changes at the genic, cellular, tissue and organismal levels (Ashley and Hall, 1991). Defining the particular changes and recognizing the emergent consequences is not always possible. The morphological revolution that produced feathers is inextricably associated with a set of closely coordinated structural genes and a unique production machine. The mechanism appears to retain linearity, but several epigenetic processes are involved. The degree of iteration is remarkable at several levels. Consequently, simple timing changes in development can produce structures of diverse morphology. Essentially, feathers are a two- dimensional surface of variable dimensions constructed from a single family of proteins." (Brush, 1996, p.140). 5/06/2006 "The hierarchical organization emphasizes that morphological changes and changes at the molecular level may evolve in different ways. At the morphological level feathers are traditionally considered homologous with reptilian scales. However, in development, morphogenesis, gene structure, protein shape and sequence, and filament formation and structure, feathers are different. Clearly, feathers provide a unique and outstanding example of an evolutionary novelty. As a key innovation they may explain the rather sudden diversification of birds. The combination of simple construction, relatively inexpensive production and a plethora of functions may have afforded the subsequent avian radiation." (Brush, 1996, p.140) 5/06/2006 "There are eight key adaptations for flight present in all modern flying birds:
(Shipman P., "Birds do it ... did dinosaurs?" New Scientist, pp.26-31, 1 February 1997, p.30) 5/06/2006 "Were it not for these feathers, Archaeopteryx would not have been recognized as a bird, as is demonstrated by the fact that one nearly complete skeleton in which the feathers were not recognized was initially identified as a dinosaur. In fact, there are no features of the bony skeleton of Archaeopteryx that are uniquely avian. All have been described in genera that are classified among the dinosaurs. If all elements of the skeleton were considered of equivalent value in classification, Archaeopteryx would certainly be considered a feathered dinosaur. " (Carroll R.L., "Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution," 1988, pp.338-339) 5/06/2006 "This is a very interesting find [Protarchaeopteryx and Caudipteryx]," Feduccia said yesterday in an interview, "but these fossils certainly look like flightless birds to me. I still believe that although birds and dinosaurs may share a common ancestor, these fossils more closely resemble many other feathered birds that later lost the ability to fly, like ostriches and emus and kiwis. These fossils could well be secondary flightless birds, and they certainly don't have to be dinosaurs." (Perlman, D., "Feathered Fossils Give Theory Wings: Find called proof birds descended from dinosaurs," San Francisco Chronicle, Wednesday, June 24, 1998) 5/06/2006 "Larry Martin, a biologist at the University of Kansas, agrees that the creatures had feathers. And he agrees that they couldn't fly. But beyond that, he disputes Norrell's conclusions. Martin is among a minority of scientists who pooh-pooh the notion that the blue jay is a latter-day velociraptor, and says the fossilized creatures are merely flightless birds, not dinosaurs. `You have to put this in proper perspective,' Martin says. `To the people who wrote the paper, the chicken would be a feathered dinosaur.'" (Chang, K., "Fossils Add to Birds-from-Dinos Debate," ABCNews, June 23, 1999) 5/06/2006 "However, despite this great flowering of life, intelligence seems to have developed only among the vertebrates, and there, rarely. Among the 24 orders of mammals, high intelligence seems to have arisen in only one, in primates. Why is this so? Clearly high intelligence has little evolutionary advantage, for it has appeared once in tens of billion attempts. As Ernst Mayr ... the biologist, has pointed out, [Mayr, E., ", "Does It Pay To Acquire High Intelligence?," Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Vol. 37; No. 3, 1994, pp.150-154] even the development of high intelligence may not lead to the ability to communicate with distant planets. Only one of the 20 or so civilisations that have arisen on Earth in the past 5000 years has developed the technology to communicate with other possible life forms elsewhere. But even on this well- endowed planet, there was nothing preordained about the emergence of Homo sapiens on the plains of Africa. Three separate continents were available on the Earth on which the later stages of the evolution of land animals could evolve. [Pollard, W.G., "The prevalence of Earthlike planets," American Scientist, Vol. 67, November-December, 1979, pp.653-659, p.654] All these vast areas shared the benign conditions on this planet that make it such a comfortable environment for life. When life first invaded the land in the late Silurian and Devonian Periods about 400 million years ago, the scattered continents were slowly uniting into a single land mass, which we call Pangaea. During the next few hundred million years, as plants and animals evolved and the dinosaurs became dominant, this great mass began to split up. A large southern continent, called Gondwana (after an historic region of central India), sailed away. This in turn slowly fragmented into familiar pieces that now appear on our maps of the world. Australia, Antarctica and South America, carrying their cargo of animals and plants, broke away leaving Africa in isolation. Australia separated from the frozen southern continent and departed northward. Africa and India also travelled north at a rate of a few centimetres a year, finally ramming into Europe and Asia and creating from this titanic collision the mighty mountain chains of the Alps and Himalayas. So were formed the three continental masses on which the later evolution of land animals proceeded independently. Australia, isolated from the rest of the world, produced the weird marsupial animals that puzzled early explorers. In South America, the land animals and their fossil ancestors intrigued Charles Darwin by their differences from his familiar European species, but the South American monkeys, primates like us, never left the trees. Africa, in addition to the splendid array of lions, antelopes, zebras, giraffes and the rest that we all admire, managed to produce another unique species, Homo sapiens. On the other continents no species remotely resembling us arose. The sobering conclusion is that even when everything else in the environment was perfect, blind chance still ruled the development of intelligent life. When the remote possibilities of developing a habitable planet are added to the chances of developing both high intelligence and a technically advanced civilisation, the odds of finding 'little green men' elsewhere in the universe decline to zero." (Taylor, S.R., "Destiny or Chance: Our Solar System and its Place in the Cosmos," , Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 2000, reprint, pp.191-192) 6/06/2006 "The animals (Metazoa) branched out in the Precambrian and Cambrian to about 60-80 lineages (phyla). Only a single one of them, that of the chordates, led eventually to genuine intelligence. The chordates are an old and well-diversified group, but only one of its numerous lineages, that of the vertebrates, eventually produced intelligence. Among the vertebrates a whole series of groups evolved, types of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Again it was only a single lineage, that of the mammals, that led to high intelligence. The mammals had a long evolutionary history which began in the Triassic, more than 200 million years ago, but only in the latter part of the Tertiary, i.e. some 15-20 million years ago, did higher intelligence originate in one of the c. 24 orders of mammals." (Mayr, E.W., "The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence," in Zuckerman, B. & Hart, M.H., "Extraterrestrials: Where Are They?," , Cambridge University Press: New York, Second edition, 1995, p.154) 6/06/2006 "The elaboration of the brain of the hominids began only about 3 million years ago, and that of the cortex of Homo sapiens only about 300 000 years ago. Nothing demonstrates the improbability of the origin of high intelligence better than the millions of phyletic lineages that failed to achieve it. How many species have existed since the origin of life? This figure is as much a matter of speculation as the number of planets in our Galaxy. But if there are 30 million living species, and if the life expectancy of a species is about 100 000 years, then one can postulate that there have been billions, perhaps as many as 50 billion species, since the origin of life. Only one of these achieved the kind of intelligence needed for the establishment of a civilization." (Mayr, E.W., "The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence," in Zuckerman, B. & Hart, M.H., "Extraterrestrials: Where Are They?," , Cambridge University Press: New York, Second edition, 1995, p.154) 6/06/2006 "How Much Intelligence Is Necessary To Produce a Civilization?Rudiments of intelligence are found already among birds (ravens, parrots) and among nonhominid mammals (porpoises, monkeys, apes, etc.), but none of these instances of intelligence has been sufficient to found a civilization." (Mayr, E.W., "The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence," in Zuckerman, B. & Hart, M.H., "Extraterrestrials: Where Are They?," , Cambridge University Press: New York, Second edition, 1995, p.154. Emphasis original) 6/06/2006 "Is Every Civilization Able To Send Signals into Space and To Receive Them? The answer quite clearly is No. In the last 10 000 years there have been at least 20 civilizations on Earth, from the Indus, the Sumerian and other near Eastern civilizations, to Egypt, Greece and the whole series of European civilizations, to the Mayas, Aztecs and Incas, and to the various Chinese and Indian civilizations. Only one of these reached a level of technology that has enabled it to send signals into space and to receive them." (Mayr, E.W., "The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence," in Zuckerman, B. & Hart, M.H., "Extraterrestrials: Where Are They?," , Cambridge University Press: New York, Second edition, 1995, p.155. Emphasis original) 6/06/2006 "Would the Sense Organs of Extraterrestrial Beings Be Adapted To Receive Our Electronic Signals? This is by no means certain. Even on Earth many groups of animals are specialized for olfactory or other chemical stimuli and would not react to electronic signals. Even if there were higher organisms on some planet, it would be rather improbable that they would have developed the same sense organs as we have." (Mayr, E.W., "The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence," in Zuckerman, B. & Hart, M.H., "Extraterrestrials: Where Are They?," , Cambridge University Press: New York, Second edition, 1995, p.155. Emphasis original) 6/06/2006 "How Long Is a Civilization Able To Receive Signals? All civilizations have only a short duration. I shall try to emphasize the importance of this point by telling a little fable. Let us assume that there were really intelligent beings on another planet in our Galaxy. A billion years ago their astronomers discovered the Earth and reached the conclusion that this planet might have the proper conditions to produce intelligence. To test this, they sent signals to the Earth for a billion years without ever getting an answer. Finally, in the year 1800 (in our calendar) they decided they would send signals only for another 100 years. When, by the year 1900, no answer had been received, they concluded that surely there was no intelligent life on Earth. This shows that even if there were thousands of civilizations in the universe, the probability of a successful communication would be extremely slight, owing to the short duration of the `open window'. One must not forget that the SETI system is very limited, reaching only part of our Galaxy. The fact that there are a near- infinite number of additional galaxies in the universe is irrelevant as far as the SETI project is concerned." (Mayr, E.W., "The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence," in Zuckerman, B. & Hart, M.H., "Extraterrestrials: Where Are They?," , Cambridge University Press: New York, Second edition, 1995, p.155. Emphasis original) 7/06/2006 "I attacked the foundations of morality in Erewhon, and nobody cared two straws. I tore open the wounds of my Redeemer as he hung upon the Cross in The Fair Haven, and people rather liked it. But when I attacked Mr. Darwin they were up in arms in a moment."(Butler, S., "Notebooks: Selections," Keynes, G. & Hill, B., eds., E.P. Dutton: New York, 1951, p.167, in Himmelfarb, G., "Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution," , Elephant Paperbacks: Chicago IL, 1996, reprint, p.438) 7/06/2006 "The new orthodoxy, however, was never quite so secure as its proponents thought. In each generation a small number of reputable scientists revived the "antiquarian" controversy, reminding their colleagues of Huxley's warning about truths that begin as heresies and end as superstitions. Some of these dissidents also echoed Huxley's early judgment that natural selection was not an established theory but a tentative hypothesis, an extremely valuable and even probable hypothesis, but a hypothesis none the less. "It is not absolutely proven," Huxley had written in his review of the Origin, "that a group of animals, having all the characters exhibited by species in nature, has ever been originated by selection, whether artificial or natural." [Huxley, T.H., "Darwiniana," Macmillan: New York, 1983, p. 74] This judgment came not only with the authority of Huxley but with that of Darwin himself: `In fact the belief in Natural Selection must at present be grounded entirely on general considerations... . When we descend to details, we can prove that no one species has changed [i.e., we cannot prove that any one species has changed]; nor can we prove that the supposed changes are beneficial, which is the groundwork of the theory. Nor can we explain why some species have changed and others have not.' [Darwin, C.R., Letter to Bentham, May 22, 1863, in Darwin, F., ed., "Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, John Murray: London, 1887, Vol. III, p.25]" (Himmelfarb, G., "Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution," , Elephant Paperbacks: Chicago IL, 1996, reprint, pp.442-443) 7/06/2006 "At the end of the century, the same doubts were being repeated by scientists who were themselves committed to the theory, but who recognized that their commitment was more an act of faith than of demonstration-faith in the scientific enterprise in general, as they understood it, rather than a scientifically validated belief in a particular proposition. August Weismann, the geneticist and zoologist, was both perceptive and candid in describing the basis of his own evolutionary creed: `Just as in this instance, so is it in every individual case of natural selection. We cannot demonstrate any of them... . We shall never be able to establish by observation the progress of natural selection ... What is it then that nevertheless makes us believe in this progress as actual, and leads us to ascribe such extraordinary importance to it? Nothing but the power of logic; we must assume natural selection to be the principle of the explanation of the metamorphoses, because all other apparent principles of explanation fail us, and it is inconceivable that there could be yet another capable of explaining the adaptations of organisms, without assuming the help of a principle of design ... . We accept it not because we are able to demonstrate the process in detail, not even because we can with more or less ease imagine it, but simply because we must, because it is the only possible explanation that we can conceive.' [Weismann, A., "The All-Sufficiency of Natural Selection," Contemporary Review, LXIV, 1893, pp.323-336] `We must assume this [the theory of sexual selection] since otherwise secondary sexual characters remain inexplicable/.' [Weismann, A., "The Selection Theory," in Seward, A.C., ed., "Darwin and Modern Science," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1909, p. 49]" (Himmelfarb, G., "Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution," , Elephant Paperbacks: Chicago IL, 1996, reprint, pp.443-444. Emphasis original) 7/06/2006 "Some years later, the biologist William Bateson reaffirmed the peculiar conjunction of doubt and faith that has been the heritage of the Darwinian: `Discussions of evolution came to an end primarily because it was obvious that no progress was being made... . Biological science has returned to its rightful place, investigation of the structure and properties of the concrete and visible world. We cannot see how the differentiation of species came about. Variation of many kinds, often considerable, we daily witness, but no origin of species ... The particular and essential bit of the theory of evolution which is concerned with the origin and nature of species remains utterly mysterious... . I have put before you very frankly the considerations which have made us agnostic as to the actual mode and processes of evolution... . Let us then proclaim in precise and unmistakable language that our faith in evolution is unshaken. The difficulties which weigh upon the professional biologist need not trouble the layman.' [Bateson, B., "William Bateson: Naturalist," The University Press: Cambridge, 1928, pp. 390-398] `The many converging lines of evidence point so clearly to the central fact of the origin of the forms of life by an evolutionary process that we are compelled to accept this deduction, but as to almost all the essential features whether of cause or mode, by which specific diversity has become what we perceive it to be, we have to confess an ignorance nearly total. The transformation of masses of population by imperceptible steps guided by selection, is, as most of us now see, so inapplicable to the facts, whether of variation or of specificity, that we can only marvel both at the want of penetration displayed by the advocates of such a proposition, and at the forensic skill by which it was made to appear acceptable even for a time. [Bateson, W., "Problems of Genetics," Oxford University Press: London, 1913 p.248]." (Himmelfarb, G., "Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution," , Elephant Paperbacks: Chicago IL, 1996, reprint, pp.444-445. Emphasis original) 7/06/2006 "More recently, so unimpeachable a witness as Bertrand Russell has said that "the particular mechanism of `natural selection' is no longer regarded by biologists as adequate." Russell, B., "The Scientific Outlook," George Allen & Unwin: London, 1931, pp.43-44] And a few years ago the professor of zoology at Cambridge posed the dilemma in its sharpest form: `No amount of argument, or clever epigram, can disguise the inherent improbability of orthodox [Darwinian] theory; but most biologists feel it is better to ' think in terms of improbable events than not to think at all; there will always be a few who feel in their bones a sneaking sympathy with Samuel Butler's scepticism.' [Gray, J., Sir, "The Case for Natural Selection," Nature, Vol. 173, February 6, 1954, p.227]" (Himmelfarb, G., "Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution," , Elephant Paperbacks: Chicago IL, 1996, reprint, p.445) 7/06/2006 "What Galileo and Newton were to the seventeenth century Darwin was to the nineteenth. Darwin's theory had two parts. On the one hand, there was the doctrine of evolution, which maintained that the different forms of life had developed gradually from a common ancestry. This doctrine, which is now generally accepted, was not new. It had been maintained by Lamarck and by Darwin's grandfather Erasmus, not to mention Anaximander. Darwin supplied an immense mass of evidence for the doctrine, and in the second part of his theory believed himself to have discovered the cause of evolution. He thus gave to the doctrine a popularity and a scientific force which it had not previously possessed, but he by no means originated it." (Russell, B., "History of Western Philosophy," , George Allen & Unwin: London, Second edition, 1991, reprint, 1993, p.696) 7/06/2006 "The second part of Darwin's theory was the struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest. All animals and plants multiply faster than nature can provide for them; therefore in each generation many perish before the age for reproducing themselves. What determines which will survive? To some extent, no doubt, sheer luck, but there is another cause of more importance. Animals and plants are, as a rule, not exactly like their parents, but differ slightly by excess or defect in every measurable characteristic. In a given environment, members of the same species compete for survival, and those best adapted to the environment have the best chance. Therefore among chance variations those that are favourable will preponderate among adults in each generation. Thus from age to age deer run more swiftly, cats stalk their prey more silently, and giraffes' necks become longer. Given enough time, this mechanism, so Darwin contended, could account for the whole long development from the protozoa to homo sapiens. This part of Darwin's theory has been much disputed, and is regarded by most biologists as subject to many important qualifications." (Russell, B., "History of Western Philosophy," , George Allen & Unwin: London, Second edition, 1991, reprint, 1993, pp.696-697) 7/06/2006 "That, however, is not what most concerns the historian of nineteenth-century ideas. From the historical point of view, what is interesting is Darwin's extension to the whole of life of the economics that characterized the philosophical radicals. The motive force of evolution, according to him, is a kind of biological economics in a world of free competition. It was Malthus's doctrine of population, extended to the world of animals and plants, that suggested to Darwin the struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest as the source of evolution." (Russell, B., "History of Western Philosophy," , George Allen & Unwin: London, Second edition, 1991, reprint, 1993, p.697) 7/06/2006 "As we survey the history of life since the inception of multicellular complexity in Ediacaran times ... one feature stands out as most puzzling-the lack of clear order and progress through time among marine invertebrate faunas. We can tell tales of improvement for some groups, but in honest moments we must admit that the history of complex life is more a story of multifarious variation about a set of basic designs than a saga of accumulating excellence. The eyes of early trilobites, for example, have never been exceeded for complexity or acuity by later arthropods. Why do we not find this expected order? Perhaps the expectation itself is faulty, a product of pervasive, progressivist bias in Western thought and never a prediction of evolutionary theory. Yet, if natural selection rules the world of life, we should detect some fitful accumulation of better and more complex design through time- amidst all the fluctuations and backings and forthings that must characterize a process primarily devoted to constructing a better fit between organisms and changing local environments. Darwin certainly anticipated such progress when he wrote: `The inhabitants of each successive period in the world's history have beaten their predecessors in the race for life, and are, insofar, higher in the scale of nature; and this may account for that vague yet ill-defined sentiment, felt by many paleontologists, that organization on the whole has progressed.' [Darwin, C.R., "The Origin of Species," 1872, Sixth edition, Senate: London, 1994, p.315] I regard the failure to find a clear "vector of progress" in life's history as the most puzzling fact of the fossil record." (Gould S.J., "Death and Transfiguration," in "The Flamingo's Smile: Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, p.241) 8/06/2006 "Tryon in his 1973 article `is the universe a vacuum fluctuation?' points out that the sum of all conserved charges, such as electric charge, for the whole universe is consistent with being zero and therefore the universe can be created out of the vacuum. No law of physics prevents a creation ex nihilo." (Pagels, H.R., "Perfect Symmetry: The Search for the Beginning of Time," , Penguin: London, 1992, reprint, p.340) 8/06/2006 "Two strongly held views about the origin of our planet and its life are in severe disagreement. Biblical Creationists accept on faith the literal Old Testament account of creation. Their beliefs include (1) a young earth, perhaps less than 10,000 years old; (2) catastrophes, especially a worldwide flood, as the origin of the earth's present form, including mountains, canyons, oceans, and continents; and (3) miraculous creation of all living things, including humans, in essentially their modern forms. ... The tenets of biblical Creationism are not testable, nor are they subject to dramatic change based on new data. In other words, Creationism is a form of religion. The testimony of nature-evidence that anyone can observe and interpret-belies Creationist dogma. If the earth is only 10,000 years old, how could the Grand Canyon have been carved a mile deep in solid rock? How could plate tectonics split apart Europe and North America with spreading rates of only a few inches per year? How could radiometric age dating, based on the steady decay of radioactive elements, give ages of hundreds or thousands of millions of years for most rocks? How could seasonally varying deposits of Mississippi River sediments, coral reefs, and deep ocean deposits contain hundreds of thousands of annual layers, all on top of much older rocks?" (Hazen, R.M. & Trefil J., "Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy," , Anchor Books: New York NY, 1992, reprint, pp.243-244) 8/06/2006 "The orbits of the planets, although elliptical as every schoolchild now is told, are in fact nearly circular. This regular arrangement led Laplace to the concept that the system had arisen far in the past from a primitive rotating cloud, the `solar nebula'. This idea has survived. This was in contrast to the ideas of Newton, who had believed that the solar system had been created in its present form only a few thousand years earlier. Laplace however was an inhabitant of the Age of Enlightenment. Born into what we would now call a middle-class farming family, he had survived the French Revolution and was a distinguished member of the French scientific establishment at the beginning of the nineteenth century. He was able to show that the apparent variations in the orbits of the planets were self-correcting and so God was not needed to adjust the system. Laplace gave a copy of his famous book to Napoleon, to whom he had taught mathematics when the Emperor had been an artillery cadet. Bonaparte, seeing no mention of God, presumably the designer of the system, asked Laplace about this omission. Laplace, having solved the problem that had bothered Newton, made his famous reply that he had `no need for that hypothesis' [Brush, S.G., "A History of Modern Planetary Physics," Vol 1. Cambridge University Press, 1996, p.20] A watershed had been crossed. Now the solar system could be considered as having arisen by the operation of natural processes from a primitive beginning, rather than being created perfect in the instant. This marks the beginning of modern attempts to understand how the Sun and the planets came into being." (Taylor, S.R., "Destiny or Chance: Our Solar System and its Place in the Cosmos," , Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 2000, reprint, p.15) 8/06/2006 "HOW ARE PLANETS MADE? The most popular current theory is that planets are built up `brick by brick' from smaller bodies called planetesimals. This is usually referred to as the planetesimal hypothesis. There is a lot of evidence for the former existence of planetesimals during the formation of the Solar System. For example, the large tilts of many planets (the Earth's is 23.5 degrees) have been caused by collision with very large bodies well over 1000 kilometres in diameter. The rapid 24-hour spin of the Earth is probably due to a giant impact that probably formed the Moon as a by-product. Venus, in contrast, has almost zero tilt and is rotating very slowly backwards, taking 243 Earth days for one rotation. Perhaps Venus never experienced a giant impact. The large icy giant, Uranus, 14 times more massive than the Earth, is lying on its side. A body the size of the Earth would be needed to tip Uranus over, while collisions with a body between three and 10 Earth masses would be needed to produce the 27-degree tilt of Saturn. All the planets spin . All the planets spin at different rates. These observations all point to the growth of planets in our system from a series of large bodies rather than from dust or small - less than 10 kilometre diameter - bodies. The ultimate significance is that many chance collisions occur randomly while planets are growing. Many unique and unrepeatable events occurred as the planets were put together. So the formation of planets like the Earth is not an inevitable result that could be repeated like a gigantic computer program, but partly depends on random events during the early history of the nebula. Venus, Earth and Mars (we have no data for Mercury at present) all appear to have lost volatile elements such as lead, sodium, potassium as well as water. This appears to be typical of the entire inner Solar System. The most plausible model is that early violent solar activity swept away not only the gaseous elements, but also ices and volatile elements that had not condensed." (Taylor, S.R., "The Solar System: An Environment For Life?," in Walter, M., ed., et al., "To Mars and Beyond: Search for the Origins of Life," Art Exhibitions Australia: Sydney & National Museum of Australia: Canberra, Australia, 2001, p.59. Emphasis original) 9/06/2006 "These shifts were the result of longer-term changes than those produced by astronomical fluctuations, and were almost certainly related to plate tectonics. The build-up of ice in the Northern Hemisphere may have resulted from the uplift of the Tibetan and Colorado plateaus disturbing global atmospheric circulation (Tibet has risen by some two vertical kilometres during the Plio-Pleistocene). Glaciation in Antarctica was probably initiated by the final breakup of the great southern continent, Gondwanaland. So long as Antarctica was joined to Australia and South America, cold polar ocean currents were deflected northwards towards the Equator and returned as warmer tropical waters. Once the link was broken, however, a circumAntarctic current developed around the South Pole, isolating it thermally. The opening of Drake Passage between Tierra del Fuego and the Antarctic peninsula from about 22 million years ago may have been critical. Tectonic changes were also important in determining regional environmental histories. The compression of the zone between the European and African tectonic plates, for example, led to the temporary closure of the Straits of Gibraltar during the Miocene. As a result, Atlantic waters no longer flowed into the Mediterranean Sea, which progressively dried up to become a series of giant salt lakes - the so-called Messinian salinity crisis. Another region where tectonic and climatic histories were intertwined was East Africa. Here the opening of the Rift System during the later Cenozoic led to a diversification of local climates that encouraged adaptation and speciation among the higher apes. West of the rifts, rainfall was high enough to support tropical moist forest, but to the east, and in the rifts themselves, the climate became drier and more open, savanna vegetation came to dominate. Whether a move down from the trees encouraged bipedalism and other human adaptive traits is hard to know. However, it may be significant that Plio-Pleistocene hominids and modern chimpanzees and gorillas have disjunct distributions in tropical Africa; the apes are found only in moist forests and adjacent wood lands whereas the hominids lived in the savanna lands within and to the east of the rift system." (Roberts, N., "Human evolution in a geological context," in Jones, J.S., Martin, R. & Pilbeam, D., eds., "The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1992, p.178) 10/06/2006 ACTS 17 ... 22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus! and said: `Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. NOW What you worship as something unknown 1 I am going to proclaim to you. 24 `The God who made the world and everything in it m is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 `For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, `We are his offspring.' 29 `Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone-an image made by man's design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by-raising him from the dead.' 32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, c some of them sneered, but others said, `We want to hear you again on this subject.'. 17:28 some of your own poets. There are two quotations here: (1) `In him we live and move and have our being,' from the Cretan poet Epimenides (c. 600 B.C.) in his Cretica, and (2) `We are his offspring,' from the Cilician poet Aratus (c. 315-240) in his Phaenomena, as well as from Cleanthes (331-233) in his Hymn to Zeus. Paul quotes Greek poets elsewhere as well (see 1Co 15:33; Tit 1:12 and notes). " (Barker, K., et al., eds., "The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 1985, p.1680) 10/06/2006 "Appeal to Authority: `Ipse dixit' or `He says so!' In this day of specialization, all men must rely on authority in the fields of technical information. Since no one can be a specialist in everything, even specialists must defer to each other. The mechanic consults the doctor about his health, the doctor consults the mechanic on the maintenance of his car, both consult an accountant when they make out their income tax. In argument, as in everyday matters, it is entirely proper, indeed inevitable, that authorities be called on for information. It is not, alas, inevitable that source material derived from authorities is always used fairly. Source material should be given the weight due to an authority if and only if the source is (a) personally reliable, and (b) qualified as an expert. An authority is personally reliable in the same way that anybody else is. ... An authority must be qualified as an expert in the field in which he is cited. " (Fearnside, W.W. & Holther, W.B., "Fallacy: The Counterfeit of Argument," Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs NJ, 1959, Eleventh printing, pp.84-85) 10/06/2006 "There is a special misuse of authority which is notorious under the name of quoting out of context. This may be done in either of two ways that seem especially attractive to the unscrupulous. The first is for one to make out through a suitable manipulation of the text that an authority is on his side. This is done by omitting distinctions, exceptions or qualifying remarks, or by otherwise distorting the text. The second is to treat the opponent as a sort of authority of his own position and to pounce upon something he has said that can be used against him-if the rest is ignored." (Fearnside, W.W. & Holther, W.B., "Fallacy: The Counterfeit of Argument," Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs NJ, 1959, Eleventh printing, pp.88-89) 10/06/2006 "I have never met a biology undergraduate who has read The Origin of Species. Even scientists, familiar as they are with its contents (or what they believe them to be), honour it in the breach rather than the observance." (Jones, J.S., "Almost Like a Whale: The Origin of Species Updated," Doubleday: London, 1999, p.xxvii) 10/06/2006 "Henslow is staying here; I have had some talk with him; he is in much the same state as Bunbury, I and will go a very little way with us, but brings up no real argument against going further. He also shudders at the eye! " (Darwin, C.R., Letter to Charles Lyell, February, 15th, 1860, in Darwin, F., ed., "The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin," , Basic Books: New York NY, Vol. II., 1959, reprint, p.79) 10/06/2006 "In July 1844, when Annie was three, Charles wrote a note for Emma: `I have just finished my sketch of my species theory. If, as I believe ... my theory is true, and if it be accepted even by one competent judge, it will be a considerable step in science. I therefore write this, in case of my sudden death, as my most solemn and last request, which I am sure that you will consider the same as if legally entered in my will, that you will devote £400 to its publication: He showed the essay to Emma and she found time to read it carefully, noting a few places where she did not understand his train of thought. She also questioned one important point in his argument. Paley in his Natural Theology and generations of naturalists before him had found the structure and functioning of the eye the most persuasive of all the proofs of the existence of God `from design: It was clearly the contrivance of a Creative mind, and Paley claimed it was impossible to imagine how such a complex mechanism could have developed by a chance succession of small steps from an organ with another function. Charles recognised that if he was to persuade others to accept his theory, he must be able to show that the structure could have evolved in this way by a purely natural process. He wrote in the essay that this was `the greatest difficulty to the whole theory' and offered an ingenious suggestion as to how the development might have occurred. But Emma was not persuaded by his argument, and wrote in the margin 'A great assumption - E.D.' Charles's suggestion was, indeed, a `great assumption', and Emma knew that it was a key part of the argument for the theory which he hoped would be a major contribution to science. It was only ever a conjecture; the evidence for it was widely scattered, indirect and fragmentary. For Emma to question the point in the direct way that she did was to strike at the heart of the theory." (Keynes, R., "Annie's Box: Charles Darwin, His Daughter and Human Evolution," Fourth Estate: London, 2001, p.79-80. Ellipses Keynes') 11/06/2006 "To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree. Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real." (Darwin, C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection: Or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life," 1859, Penguin: London, First Edition, 1985, reprint, p.217) 12/06/2006 "The Origin of Life At the early stages of the earth's history Life was impossible because of the physical and chemical conditions that then prevailed, whether the earth cooled from a molten state or concentrated out of cold cosmic dust. Life on earth must therefore have started at some time in its history ; but it is probable that the physical and chemical conditions which prevailed when life originated have not persisted, and that new living organisms have not arisen from non-living matter since that time. It may be supposed that in the primeval oceans, salts became concentrated and that with the energy supplied by the sun they were built up into increasingly complex molecules. Since Kolbe synthesized acetic acid, and Berthelot synthesized hydrocarbons such as acetylene and obtained many derivatives from them, it has been clear than many so-called organic chemical substances found in living organisms can be prepared in the laboratory from their constituent elements, and that organisms must originally have been evolved from compounds found in nature. Amino-acids, of which glycine is an example, are the basic building materials of which proteins are composed, and therefore essential ingredients of living matter. Amino-acids can be synthesized by the action of electrical discharges and ultra-violet light on mixtures of simple substances such as hydrogen, water, carbon dioxide, methane, and ammonia. (S. L. Miller.) Typical proteins consist of complex chains of amino-acids forming polypeptides." (de Beer, G.R., "A Handbook on Evolution," , Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History): London, Fourth Edition, 1970, p.108. Emphasis original) 12/06/2006 "Adenosine triphosphate is a substance which plays a very important part in the reactions of living matter because it can transfer free energy from some molecules to others, thereby furnishing the energy required for muscular contraction, electrical discharge in certain fishes, light-production in fireflies, and the synthesis of complex biological materials. In so doing, ` A.T.P. ' parts with one or two of its phosphate groups; but these can subsequently be replaced by means of energy provided from the oxidation of other substances. The original molecule of A.T.P. can thus be regenerated." (de Beer, G.R., "A Handbook on Evolution," , Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History): London, Fourth Edition, 1970, pp.108-109) 12/06/2006 "Deoxyribose nucleic acid, of which a molecular model is shown, consists of two spiral chains of phosphate and sugar groups, interconnected at intervals by nucleotide bases in pairs, consisting of either guanine and cytosine, or of adenine and thymine. ` D.N.A. ' is believed to be the chemical basis of the genes, large numbers of which, together with proteins, constitute the chromosomes. When the molecule of D.N.A. uncoils and splits, each portion is incomplete and takes up what it lacks from the available materials in the cell to produce two copies from the original single structure. This is the basis of self-copying and reproduction. Sometimes the copying is not exact and the nucleotide bases in one of the products are differently arranged. This is believed to be the basis of mutation. (J. D. Watson, F. H. C. Crick, and M. H. F. Wilkins.)" (de Beer, G.R., "A Handbook on Evolution," , Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History): London, Fourth Edition, 1970, p.109) 12/06/2006 "The formation of new compounds may be regarded as ` variation ', and selection must already have been at work before life began, for unless the molecules were to a certain extent stable, those particular chemical compounds did not persist. There must have been many different types of molecules and many failures." (de Beer, G.R., "A Handbook on Evolution," , Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History): London, Fourth Edition, 1970, p.109) 12/06/2006 "The Living Cell The enclosure of self-copying compounds within a semi-permeable membrane that contains them but lets food pass through it, is the basis of the structure of a living cell, and the achievement of this stage of organization may be regarded as the origin of life. The life of the cell consists in assimilation into itself of other materials, compensation for wastage by self-copying of its contained compounds, and reproduction by simple division. All these processes involve expenditure of energy and organisms require systems that obtain it. The earliest organisms were dependent on the chemical substances in the environment for building themselves up, deriving the necessary energy from inorganic chemical reactions, probably without using oxygen as this gas was then rare in the atmosphere. This stage may be illustrated by the bacteria." (de Beer, G.R., "A Handbook on Evolution," , Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History): London, Fourth Edition, 1970, p.109. Emphasis original) 12/06/2006 "Science, fundamentally, is a game. It is a game with one overriding and defining rule: Rule No. 1: Let us see how far and to what extent we can explain the behavior of the physical and material universe in terms of purely physical and material causes, without invoking the supernatural. Operational science takes no position about the existence or non-existence of the supernatural; only that this factor is not to be invoked in scientific explanations. Calling down special-purpose miracles as explanations constitutes a form of intellectual `cheating.' A chess player is perfectly capable of removing his opponent's king physically from the board and smashing it in the midst of a tournament. But this would not make him a chess champion, because the rules had not been followed. A runner may be tempted to take a short-cut across the infield of an oval track in order to cross the finish line ahead of his faster colleague. But he refrains from doing so, as this would not constitute `winning' under the rules of the sport." (Dickerson, R.E., "The Game of Science: Reflections After Arguing With Some Rather Overwrought People," Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Vol. 44, June 1992, pp.137-138. http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1992/PSCF6-92Dickerson.html) 12/06/2006 "Similarly, a scientist also can say to himself, `I believe that Homo sapiens was placed on this planet by a special act of divine creation, separate and apart from the rest of living creatures.' While this can be a genuinely held private belief, it can never be advanced as a scientific explanation, because once again it violates the rules of the game. If that situation were true, and if H. sap. were indeed the result of a special miracle, then, in view of Rule No. 1, above, the only proper scientific assessment would be: `Science has no explanation.' The problem with any such statement is that we know from past experience that it probably should have been qualified: `Science has no explanation--yet.' As people who have grown up amid the current scientific revolution realize, last year's miracle is this year's technology." (Dickerson, R.E., "The Game of Science: Reflections After Arguing With Some Rather Overwrought People," Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Vol. 44, June 1992, pp.137-138. http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1992/PSCF6- 92Dickerson.html) 12/06/2006 "The vital importance of excluding miracles and divine intervention from the game of science is that allowing such factors to be invoked as explanations discourages the search for other and more systematic causes. Two centuries ago, if Benjamin Franklin and his contemporaries had been content to regard vitreous and resinous forms of static electricity as only expressions of divine humor, we would be unlikely to have the science of electromagnetism today. A century later, a passive belief that God made all the molecules `after their own kind' would have stunted the infant science of chemistry. And a contemporary who believes devoutly that there are no connections between branches of living organisms is unlikely ever to discover such connections as do exist. The most insidious evil of supernatural creationism is that it stifles curiosity and therefore blunts the intellect. There are those who demand, in a bizarre misapplication of courtroom standards, that the claims of modern science either be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt at this present moment, or else be given up entirely. Such people do not understand the structure of science as a game. We do not say, `Science absolutely and categorically denies the existence and intervention of the supernatural.' Instead, as good game players, we say, `So far, so good. We haven't needed special miracles yet.' The particular glory of science is that such an attitude has been so successful, over the past four centuries, in explaining so much of the world around us. A good maxim is: If it isn't broken, don't fix it. The game of rational science has been enormously successful. We change the rules of that game at our peril." (Dickerson, R.E., "The Game of Science: Reflections After Arguing With Some Rather Overwrought People," Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Vol. 44, June 1992, pp.137-138. Emphasis original. http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1992/PSCF6-92Dickerson.html) 12/06/2006 "To be sure, many areas exist where we as scientists do not yet know all the answers. But these problem areas change from one generation to another, and that which might have seemed miraculous (to some) a generation ago now is seen to be perfectly explicable by natural causes. In hindsight we would have felt foolish had we written off those areas as the result of miracles fifty years ago; and we would be ill-advised to set ourselves up for ridicule by those who will follow us fifty years from now. It is a reasonable prediction that the attitude of future generations toward twentieth-century `scientific creationism' (an inherent oxymoron according to Rule No. 1, above) will be one of ridicule." (Dickerson, R.E., "The Game of Science: Reflections After Arguing With Some Rather Overwrought People," Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Vol. 44, June 1992, pp.137-138. http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1992/PSCF6-92Dickerson.html) 12/06/2006 "Science is not a closed body of dogma; it is a continuing process of enquiry. A dry and querulous legalism that tends to inhibit or close off that process is antithetical to science. The cartoonist Sidney Harris once published a cartoon depicting two scientists in consultation before a blackboard filled with equations-- obviously some kind of proof in the making. One scientist points to a particular equation and proclaims confidently, `And at this point a miracle occurs!' Real scientists don't talk that way--not because some of them don't believe in miracles, sometime, somewhere--but because invoking miracles and special creation violates the rules of the game of science and inhibits its progress. People who do not understand that concept can never be real scientists, and should not be allowed to misrepresent science to young people from whom the ranks of the next generation of scientists will be drawn." (Dickerson, R.E., "The Game of Science: Reflections After Arguing With Some Rather Overwrought People," Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Vol. 44, June 1992, pp.137-138. Emphasis original. http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1992/PSCF6-92Dickerson.html) 12/06/2006 "Let me conclude with one last reflection. Obviously, I love and cherish Darwinian evolutionary theory, as one of the great intellectual achievements of all time. But my pleading is not just for Darwinism, or any kind of evolutionism. It is for all human inquiry, particularly all scientific inquiry. If Darwinism is beaten down by the Creationists, who falls next? Remember that the Bible speaks of the sun stopping for Joshua. Both Luther and Calvin took this as textual evidence against Copernicus. Will we have to make room for religion in physics, also? And if religion, why not astrology, and all the other world systems? There is no shortage of believers prepared to fight for their causes. And, as I have noted, if Scientific Creationism is taught as a viable alternative, there cannot fail to be a deadening of the critical faculties. What is known to be fallacious will then be judged valid, and what is seen to be inadequate will be taken as proven. Hence, my fight is not just a fight for one scientific theory. It is a fight for all knowledge. In a sense, these are dark days. The threat will not vanish, unless we fight. But, the battle can be won. Darwinism has a great past. Let us work to see that it has an even greater future." (Ruse M., "Darwinism Defended: A Guide to the Evolution Controversies," , Addison-Wesley: Reading MA, 1983, Third printing, p.329) 12/06/2006 "THE genetic code is the product of early natural selection, not simply random, say scientists in Britain. Their analysis has shown it to be among the best of more than a billion billion possible codes. ... Roughly 10^20 genetic codes are possible, but the one nature actually uses was adopted as the standard more than 3.5 billion years ago. Now Steven Freeland, a postgraduate student at the University of Cambridge, and evolutionary biologist Laurence Hurst at the University of Bath, have shown that strong selective pressures must have acted on the code during its evolution. `The code has evolved to minimise errors during translation,' Hurst concludes. First, Hurst showed that the natural code is far better than the vast majority of randomly generated codes at minimising the errors caused by genetic mutations. He found that single-letter changes to a codon, which meant that the wrong amino acid was inserted into a protein, tended to specify amino acids that were very similar chemically to the correct ones, thereby minimising the impact on the protein. Freeland then built on that model by taking into account errors that occur during the decoding, or translation, of the gene. He reasoned that if the code had evolved to minimise translation errors, it should minimise chemical differences most between the correct and incorrect amino acid at the third base in the codon. The translation machinery misreads this base 10 times as often as the second. In an analysis that gave extra mathematical weight to the vulnerable sites most likely to be mistranslated, Freeland showed that no more than one in a million random codes was better at reducing the impact of errors than the natural code. Hurst and Freeland will say in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Molecular Evolution that it is extremely unlikely that such an efficient code arose by chance-natural selection must have played a role. The natural genetic code became universal very early in evolution. Although unconventional codes exist in a handful of places-such as mitochondria-Hurst says there has always been strong pressure for the code to be universal. That's because most organisms exchange DNA. For instance, a virus that infects two species can transfer DNA from one to the other. `Imagine if you got DNA coding for an excellent protein, but when you read the DNA you got a different protein,' Hurst explains. `That's not going to do you any good.' Eors Szathmary, who is an evolutionary biologist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Budapest, Hungary, says Freeland's analysis supports the theory that evolutionary forces shaped the code. But he points out that another factor probably played a role: the modern genetic code descended from a simpler form with fewer codons. If that's true, similar amino acids might be specified by similar codons simply because they share a common lineage." (Knight, J., "Top translator," New Scientist, Vol 158, 18 April 1998, p.15. http://archive.newscientist.com/secure/article/article.jsp?rp=2&id=mg15821302.400) 13/06/2006 "[S] You said in a recent speech that design was not the only alternative to chance. A lot of people think that evolution is all about random chance. [D] That's ludicrous. That's ridiculous. Mutation is random in the sense that it's not anticipatory of what's needed. Natural selection is anything but random. Natural selection is a guided process, guided not by any higher power, but simply by which genes survive and which genes don't survive. That's a non-random process. The animals that are best at whatever they do-hunting, flying, fishing, swimming, digging-whatever the species does, the individuals that are best at it are the ones that pass on the genes. It's because of this non-random process that lions are so good at hunting, antelopes so good at running away from lions, and fish are so good at swimming." (Dawkins, R., "The Problem with God: Interview with Richard Dawkins," Beliefnet, 15 December 2005. http://beliefnet.com/story/178/story_17889.html) 13/06/2006 "... Darwin's theory, I believe, is on the verge of collapse. In his famous book, on The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, Darwin made a mistake sufficiently serious to undermine his theory. ... At one point in his argument, Darwin was misled. ... What was it, then, that Darwin discovered? What was this mechanism of natural selection? ... The British philosopher Herbert Spencer was one who came within a hair's breadth of the idea of natural selection, in an essay called `The Theory of Population' published in The Westminster Review seven years before The Origin of Species came out. In this article, Spencer used the phrase `the survival of the fittest' for the first time. Darwin then appropriated the phrase in the fifth edition of The Origin of Species, considering it an admirable summation of his argument. This argument was in fact an analogy ... While in his country retreat, Darwin spent a good deal of time with pigeon fanciers and animal breeders. He even bred pigeons himself of particular relevance to him was that breeders bred for certain characteristics (length of feather; length of wool coloring), and that the offspring of the selected mates often tended to have the desired characteristics more abundantly) or more noticeably than its parents. Thus, it could perhaps he said, a small amount of `evolution' had occurred between one generation and the next. By analogy, then, the same process occurred in nature, Darwin thought. As he wrote in the Origin of Species: `How fleeting are the wishes of man! How short his time! and consequently how poor will his productions be, compared with those accumulated by nature during whole geological periods. Can we wonder, then. that nature's productions should be far 'truer' in character than man's productions?' Just as the breeders selected those individuals best suited to the breeders' needs to be the parents of the next generation, so, Darwin argued, nature selected those organisms that were best fitted to survive the struggle for existence. In that way, evolution would inevitably occur. And so there it was: a sort of improving machine inevitably at work in nature, `daily and hourly scrutinizing,' Darwin wrote, `silently and insensibly working...at the improvement of each organic being.' In this day, Darwin thought, one type of organism could be transformed into another-for instance, he suggested, bears into whales. So that was how we came to have horses and tigers and things-by natural selection. ... I think it should now be abundantly clear that Darwin made a mistake in proposing his theory of natural selection, and it is fairly easy to detect the mistake. We have seen that what they theory so grievously lacks is a criterion of fitness that is independent of survival. If only there were some way of identifying the fittest beforehand, without always having to wait and see which ones survive, Darwin's theory would be testable rather than tautological. But as almost everyone now seems to agree, fittest inevitably means; `those that survive best.' Why, then, did Darwin assume that there were independent criteria? And the answer is, because in the case of artificial selection, from which he worked by analogy, there really are independent criteria. Darwin went wrong in thinking that this aspect of his analogy was valid. In our sheep example, remember, long wool was the `desirable' featured the independent criterion. The lambs of woolly parental sheep may possess this feature even more than their parents, and so be `more evolved'-more in the desired direction. In nature, on the other hand, the offspring may differ from their parents in any direction whatsoever and be considered `more evolved' than their parents, provided only that they survive al leave offspring themselves. There is, then, no `selection' by nature at all. Nor does nature `act,' as it is so often said to do in biology books. One organism may indeed be `fitter' than another from an evolutionary point of view, but the only event that determines this fitness is death (or infertility). This, of course, is not something which helps create the organism, but is something that terminates it. It occurs at the end, not the beginning of life." (Bethell, T., "Darwin's Mistake," in "The Electric Windmill: An Inadvertent Autobiography," Regnery Gateway: Washington DC, 1988, pp.186-187, 190. Emphasis original) 14/06/2006 "Throughout this book, our first recourse when considering such matters has been to the example of the eye, although it has, of course, been only a representative of the large set of organs that are too complex and well designed to have come about by chance. Only natural selection, I have repeatedly argued, even comes close to offering a plausible explanation for the human eye and comparable organs of extreme perfection and complexity. Fortunately, Dover has explicitly risen to the challenge, and has offered his own explanation of the evolution of the eye. Assume, he says, that 1,000 steps of evolution are needed to evolve the eye from nothing. This means that a sequence of 1,000 genetic changes were needed to transform a bare patch of skin into an eye. This seems to me to be an acceptable assumption for the sake of argument. In the terms of Biomorph Land, it means that the bare-skin animal is 1,000 genetic steps distant from the eyed animal. Now, how do we account for the fact that just the right set of 1,000 steps were taken to result in the eye as we know it? Natural selection's explanation is well known. Reducing it to its simplest form, at each one of the 1,000 steps, mutation offered a number of alternatives, only one of which was favoured because it aided survival. The 1,000 steps of evolution represent 1,000 successive choice points, at each of which most of the alternatives led to death. The adaptive complexity of the modern eye is the end-product of 1,000 successful unconscious 'choices'. The species has followed a particular path through the labyrinth of all possibilities. There were 1,000 branch-points along the path, and at each one the survivors were the ones that happened to take the turning that led to improved eyesight. The wayside is littered with the dead bodies of the failures who took the wrong turning at each one of the 1,000 successive choice points. The eye that we know is the end-product of a sequence of 1,000 successful selective 'choices'." (Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker," W.W. Norton: New York NY, 1986, p.313) 14/06/2006 "On one point, though, I insist. This is that wherever in nature there is a sufficiently powerful illusion of good design for some purpose, natural selection is the only known mechanism that can account for it. I do not insist that natural selection has the keys to every corridor of the Museum of All Possible Animals, and I certainly don't think that all parts of the museum can be reached from all other parts. Natural selection is very probably not free to wander where it will. It may be that some of my colleagues are right, and natural selection's freedom of access as it snakes, or even hops, around the museum is severely limited. But if an engineer looks at an animal or organ and sees that it is well designed to perform some task, then I will stand up and assert that natural selection is responsible for the goodness of apparent design." (Dawkins, R., "Climbing Mount Improbable," Penguin: London, 1996, pp.202-203) 14/06/2006 Appeal to Tradition ... Some of our traditions, our religious or political tenets, represent policies or basic decisions in the light of which we will wish to examine certain proposed courses of action that involve a group to which we owe allegiance. A nation may be committed to going to war when its allies are attacked, a political party to instituting a particular economic reform, or a church to propagating the gospel according to its interpretation. Where an appeal to these basic policies is relevant for deciding on a course of action, it is always in order. Where the appeal is not relevant, it cannot be proper, as, for instance, where the proposed course of action on its face is no more a consequence of the basic tenets than the alternative course of action." (Fearnside, W.W. & Holther, W.B., "Fallacy: The Counterfeit of Argument," Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs NJ, 1959, Eleventh printing, pp.89-90. Emphasis original) 15/06/2006 "But make no mistake about the power of scientific materialism. It presents the human mind with an alternative mythology that until now has always, point for point in zones of conflict, defeated traditional religion. Its narrative form is the epic: the evolution of the universe from the big bang of fifteen billion years ago through the origin of the elements and celestial bodies to the beginnings of life on earth. The evolutionary epic is mythology in the sense that the laws it adduces here and now are believed but can never be definitely proved to form a cause-and-effect continuum from physics to the social sciences, from this world to all other worlds in the visible universe, and backward through time to the beginning of the universe. Every part of existence is considered to be obedient to physical laws requiring no external control. The scientist's devotion to parsimony in explanation excludes the divine spirit and other extraneous agents. Most importantly, we have come to the crucial stage in the history of biology when religion itself is subject to the explanations of the natural sciences. As I have tried to show, sociobiology can account for the very origin of mythology by the principle of natural selection acting on the genetically evolving material structure of the human brain." (Wilson, E.O., "On Human Nature," , Penguin: London, 2001, reprint, p.184) 15/06/2006 "If this interpretation is correct, the final decisive edge enjoyed by scientific naturalism will come from its capacity to explain traditional religion, its chief competitor, as a wholly material phenomenon. Theology is not likely to survive as an independent intellectual discipline. But religion itself will endure for a long time as a vital force in society. Like the mythical giant Antaeus who drew energy from his mother, the earth, religion cannot be defeated by those who merely cast it down. The spiritual weakness of scientific naturalism is due to the fact that it has no such primal source of power. While explaining the biological sources of religious emotional strength, it is unable in its present form to draw on them, because the evolutionary epic denies immortality to the individual and divine privilege to the society, and it suggests only an existential meaning for the human species. "(Wilson, E.O., "On Human Nature," , Penguin: London, 2001, reprint, pp.184- 185) 15/06/2006 "This mythopoeic drive can be harnessed to learning and the rational search for human progress if we finally concede that scientific materialism is itself a mythology defined in the noble sense. So let me give again the reasons why I consider the scientific ethos superior to religion: its repeated triumphs in explaining and controlling the physical world; its self-correcting nature open to all competent to devise and conduct the tests; its readiness to examine all subjects sacred and profane; and now the possibility of explaining traditional religion by the mechanistic models of evolutionary biology. The last achievement will be crucial. If religion, including the dogmatic secular ideologies, can be systematically analyzed and explained as a product of the brain's evolution, its power as an external source of morality will be gone forever and the solution of the second dilemma will have become a practical necessity." (Wilson, E.O., "On Human Nature," , Penguin: London, 2001, reprint, pp.191-192) 15/06/2006 "The core of scientific materialism is the evolutionary epic. Let me repeat its minimum claims: that the laws of the physical sciences are consistent with those of the biological and social sciences and can be linked in chains of causal explanation; that life and mind have a physical basis; that the world as we know it has evolved from earlier worlds obedient to the same laws; and that the visible universe today is everywhere subject to these materialist explanations. The epic can be indefinitely strengthened up and down the line, but its most sweeping assertions cannot be proved with finality. What I am suggesting, in the end, is that the evolutionary epic is probably the best myth we will ever have. It can be adjusted until it comes as close to truth as the human mind is constructed to judge the truth." (Wilson, E.O., "On Human Nature," , Penguin: London, 2001, reprint, p.192) 15/06/2006 "Indeed, the origin of the universe in the big bang of fifteen billion years ago, as deduced by astronomers and physicists, is far more awesome than the first chapter of Genesis or the Ninevite epic of Gilgamesh. When the scientists project physical processes backward to that moment with the aid of mathematical models they are talking about everything literally everything - and when they move forward in time to pulsars, supernovas, and the collision of black holes they probe distances and mysteries beyond the imaginings of earlier generations. Recall how God lashed Job with concepts meant to overwhelm the human mind: `Who is this whose ignorant words cloud my design in darkness? Brace yourself and stand up like a man; I will ask questions, and you shall answer ... Have you descended to the springs of the sea or walked in the unfathomable deep? Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Have you ever seen the door- keepers of the place of darkness? Have you comprehended the vast expanse of the world? Come, tell me all this, if you know.' [Job 38:2-3; 16-18 NEB] And yes, we do know and we have told. Jehovah's challenges have been met and scientists have pressed on to uncover and to solve even greater puzzles. The physical basis of life is known; we understand approximately how and when it started on earth. New species have been created in the laboratory and evolution has been traced at the molecular level. Genes can be spliced from one kind of organism into another. Molecular biologists have most of the knowledge needed to create elementary forms of life. Our machines, settled on Mars, have transmitted panoramic views and the results of chemical soil analysis. Could the Old Testament writers have conceived of such activity? And still the process of great scientific discovery gathers momentum." (Wilson, E.O., "On Human Nature," , Penguin: London, 2001, reprint, pp.192-193. Emphasis original) 15/06/2006 "Natural and supernatural explanations dominate popular accounts of origins. Evolution, which is the strongest natural explanation, holds that the gross features of the universe-including galaxies, solar systems, and planets; the transition from nonliving matter to living organisms; and the diversity of life forms, including human beings-all arose as a consequence of the innate proclivities of matter and energy, as expressed by the laws of nature. Creationism accounts for these same features of the universe by a number of supernatural acts whereby the universe was created in a fully functional form not very different from what we observe today. Although public attention has focused on these two alternatives, it is important to remember that they are not the only ones. For creationists, then, life arose full-blown from the hands of the creator, and further mechanistic inquiry is beyond the realm of current science. By contrast, evolutionists demand from their theory a plausible mechanistic explanation for the transformation of nonliving matter into living organisms." (Wilson, .J.H., "The Origin of Life," in Wilson, D.B. & Dolphin ,W.D., eds., "Did the Devil Make Darwin Do It?: Modern Perspectives on the Creation-Evolution Controversy," Iowa State University Press: Ames IO, 1983, p.86) 15/06/2006 "Naturalism asserts, first, that the primary constituents of reality are material entities. ... that anything that is real is, in the last analysis, explicable as a material entity or as a form or function or action of a material entity. Theism says, `In the beginning, God;' naturalism says, `In the beginning, matter.' ... The `ultimate realities,' according to naturalism, are not the alleged objects of the inquiries of theologians; they are the entities that are the objects of investigation by chemists, physicists, and other scientists. To put the matter very simply: materialism is true. Naturalism asserts, second, that what happens in the world is theoretically explicable without residue in terms of the internal structures and the external relations of these material entities. The world is, to use an inadequate metaphor, like a gigantic machine whose parts are so numerous and whose processes are so complex that we have, thus far, been able to achieve only a partial and fragmentary understanding of how it works. In principle, however, everything that occurs is ultimately explicable in terms of the properties and relations of the particles of which matter is composed. Once again, the point may be stated simply: determinism is true." (Halverson, W.H., "A Concise Introduction to Philosophy," , Random House: New York, Fourth Edition, 1981, p.424) 15/06/2006 "Naturalism, therefore, denies the existence of any real entities corresponding to such concepts as God, angel, devil, spirit, or soul (as these concepts are usually understood), because they are asserted by those who affirm their existence to be nonmaterial subjects of activities such as deciding, regretting, suffering, and so forth. But from the point of view of naturalism, any activity must ultimately be understood as a process involving material entities and occurring within space and time. Since the above concepts cannot be understood in this way, naturalism must regard them as bogus concepts that purport to denote some real entities but, in fact, denote nothing at all." (Halverson, W.H., "A Concise Introduction to Philosophy," , Random House: New York, Fourth Edition, 1981, pp.424-425) 17/06/2006 "A FEW YEARS AGO a committee of scientists, magicians and others was organized to provide some focus for scepticism on the border of science. This nonprofit organization is called `The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal' ... . It is beginning to do some useful work, including in its publications the latest news on the confrontation between the rational and the irrational - a debate that goes back to the encounters between Alexander the Oracle-Monger and the Epicureans, who were the rationalists of his day. The committee has also made official protests to the networks and the Federal Communications Commission about television programmes on pseudoscience that are particularly uncritical. An interesting debate has gone on within the committee between those who think that all doctrines that smell of pseudoscience should be combated and those who believe that each issue should be judged on its own merits, but that the burden of proof should fall squarely on those who make the proposals. I find myself very much in the latter camp. I believe that the extraordinary should certainly be pursued. But extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." (Sagan, C.E., "Broca's Brain: The Romance of Science," , Coronet: London, 1980, reprint, p.75. Capitals original) 18/06/2006 "A straw man argument is a rhetorical technique based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To `set up a straw man' or `set up a straw-man argument' is to create a position that is easy to refute, then attribute that position to the opponent. A straw-man argument can be a successful rhetorical technique (that is, it may succeed in persuading people) but it is in fact misleading, since the argument actually presented by the opponent has not been refuted." ("Straw man," Wikipedia, 2006) 18/06/2006 "BY MR. ROTHSCHILD: Q Professor Behe ... If we could go to page 11 of your report and highlight the underscored text. You say, `Intelligent design theory focuses exclusively on the proposed mechanism of how complex biological structures arose.' Correct? A That is correct, yes. Q That's consistent with your testimony today. A Yes, it is. Q Now, the claim that -- if we could go back to Ernst Mayr's list and highlight - - just focus on the common descent. You claim that intelligent design does not take a position on common descent, which is defined here as, `The theory that every group of organisms descended from a common ancestor and that all groups of organisms, including animals, plants, and microorganisms, ultimately go back to a single origin of life on earth.' Correct? ... A Yes, this is Ernst Mayr's definition of common descent, may I add. Q And you're saying intelligent design doesn't make a claim about that proposition. A That's correct." (Behe, M.J.*, "Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District," Trial transcript: Day 11 (October 18), PM Session, Part 2) 19/06/2006 "PROBLEMS OF EVOLUTION Perhaps it was the centenary of the death of Charles Darwin celebrated on 19 April 1982. Perhaps it is a sign of the uncertainties of our age. Perhaps it always has been a favourite topic. But there is no doubt that the classic theories of evolution are being challenged now more than ever before. The difficulty for someone like me is to show that the challenge does not imply a discrediting of the thrust of Darwinian evolution. Nearly all biologists accept that. But we have to provide refinements as the complexities of the processes of mutation, change and stability become apparent." (Williams, R., ed., "The Best of the Science Show," Nelson & Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Melbourne Vic, Australia, 1983, p.180. Emphasis original) 19/06/2006 "Being a good museum man, Lamarck worked out a system for arranging the specimens on his shelves. And being a good scientist, he counted things. He counted legs - something that hadn't been done seriously before - and so it's to Lamarck that we owe the concept of six-legged insects (in his new, restricted sense); eight-legged spiders and scorpions; and many-legged crustaceans. He also recognised the separate identity of the molluscs, annelid worms and echinoderms. He was the founder of invertebrate zoology and, in fact, the first person to use the word `invertebrate'. As he arranged his jellyfishes and sea-urchins and worms and molluscs and arthropods in order, it seemed to him that they fitted into a branching system of increasing complexity. The idea of a ladder of nature (with man at the top, naturally) was not new, but what Lamarck saw - or thought he saw - was that this was continuous. Whenever he came across a new animal, it fitted into a gap in his system. His explanation for the pattern was that all animals are related in some degree. And he was so convinced that even plants and animals shared a common ancestor that he invented the word `biology' to embrace the joint study of zoology anti botany." (Strahan, R., "Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine De Monet, Chevalier De Lamarck," in Williams, R., ed., "The Best of the Science Show," Nelson & Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Melbourne Vic, Australia, 1983, p.182. Emphasis original) 19/06/2006 "What was the cause of the diversity? Why should there be so many different species? Lamarck proposed that all species have the capacity to change, generation by generation, and that each one represents a particular response to a particular environmental situation. Like every museum man, then and now, he classified animals into species, but he refused to take them seriously. In his opinion, a species is an illusion - an assemblage of animals that appears to be unchanging simply because we see it only in a thin slice of time. Every modern biologist would agree. He published these ideas first in 1802 and consolidated them in 1809 in his book, Zoological Philosophy. But he went beyond these broad principles to prepare a mechanism of evolution. In his view, an individual's body develops in response to its needs or `wants'. Parts of the body that are exercised become larger or stronger and it was his belief that these changes are transmitted to its offspring. That's to say, for example, that the ancestors of herons and flamingos had a `need' to keep their bottoms dry and so, over many generations, developed long legs. The ancestors of giraffes had a `need' to reach leaves higher in the trees and, by continually striving to reach them, lengthened their necks in each generation. Animals living in dark caves didn't use their eyes so they gradually became blind. The fact that Lamarck was wrong doesn't mean that his ideas were ridiculous. His hypothesis was scientific because, at least in principle, it was disprovable. And that's exactly what was tried by some biologists whom Napoleon took to Egypt. They examined mummified animals, found them to be identical with living species, and proved Lamarck to be wrong. Of course, the time scale was too short but the critical principle was sound." (Strahan, R., "Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine De Monet, Chevalier De Lamarck," in Williams, R., ed., "The Best of the Science Show," Nelson & Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Melbourne Vic, Australia, 1983, pp.182-183. Emphasis original) 19/06/2006 "Charles Darwin read Lamarck's works and was struck by their resemblance to the less precise ideas published in the 18th century by Erasmus Darwin, his grandfather. It's possible that Erasmus influenced Lamarck but there's certainly no doubt that both of them influenced the young Charles. The popular idea that Charles suddenly hit on the concept of evolution when HMS Beagle called at the Galapagos is romantic nonsense, helped along by Darwin's very selective amnesia. The theory of evolution and the impermanence of species was known to every naturalist of the time (even though most of them rejected it) and Darwin's contribution was not to postulate evolution, as such, but the means by which it took. place - by the culling of the less successful members of each generation. Lamarck proposed that evolution proceeded by purposeful striving: Darwin offered the bleak mechanism of blind competition between random variants. There's no doubt that Darwin was nearer to the truth than Lamarck - even though his theory was unworkable until we'd managed to integrate it with modern genetics. But Darwin was less than truthful when he denied having been influenced by Lamarck. And when he began to realise - consciously or unconsciously - that his theory had serious shortcomings, he gradually incorporated Lamarckian ideas more and more into his writings. As one critic remarked, `Darwin complained that Lamarck was shabbily dressed - and then stole his clothes!'" (Strahan, R., "Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine De Monet, Chevalier De Lamarck," in Williams, R., ed., "The Best of the Science Show," Nelson & Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Melbourne Vic, Australia, 1983, pp.183-184. Emphasis original) 19/06/2006 "In fact, when one takes a broad view of evolution, there is a charitable way of accommodating one of Lamarck's principles within neo-Darwinism. It is because certain possums and rodents in the past jumped from bough to bough that natural selection acted in favour of every variation leading to an increase in the area of skin between their legs and body - leading to the evolution of the sugar glider and the flying squirrel. The `need' created a situation which encouraged a response. And, in the same (shorthand) sense, a bird has wings because its distant ancestors tried to fly, and a kangaroo has long hind legs because its ancestors hopped. We could commemorate the fact that Lamarck died 150 years ago. I'd rather celebrate the publication 170 years ago, fifty years before The Origin of Species, of Lamarck's Zoological Philosophy, and I'd like to pay tribute to the father of invertebrate zoology and the first person to enunciate a biologically based and coherent theory of evolution. We've had enough Darwinian chauvinism." (Strahan, R., "Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine De Monet, Chevalier De Lamarck," in Williams, R., ed., "The Best of the Science Show," Nelson & Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Melbourne Vic, Australia, 1983, pp.184. Emphasis original) 19/06/2006 "Research by Jacques Laskar and colleagues at the Bureau des Longitudes in Paris shows that the Moon's considerable gravity acts as a stabilizing anchor on Earth. Without the Moon, subtle gravitational effects from the other planets (mainly Jupiter) over millions of years would play havoc with the tilt of Earth's spin axis. Instead of the current 23.5-degree tilt, which gives us our moderate seasonal variation and which varies by only 2.6 degrees over a 41,000-year period, the axial tilt would fluctuate chaotically between 0 and 85 degrees over millions of years. Earth's climate would experience eons of wild seasonal variation, followed by periods with none at all. Such unstable environmental conditions would probably lead to either a runaway greenhouse effect, which heats Venus' surface to a hellish 450 degrees Celsius, or runaway glaciation, which would plunge Earth into a permanent ice age. Probably very few Earth-sized planets in the Galaxy have satellites as large as our friendly neighbor. Most astronomers think the Moon formed by a freak accident. Early in the solar system's history, a Mars-sized object crashed into Earth at just the right angle so as not to destroy Earth, but to blast a hefty chunk of material into space that later coalesced into the Moon. This might have been a one-in-a-million event, but one that appears necessary to have allowed intelligent life to evolve." Naeye, R., "OK, Where Are They?," Astronomy, July 1996, Vol. 24, No. 7, pp.36-43, p.41) 19/06/2006 "But perhaps the most fortuitous circumstance of all is the fact that water remained in a liquid state as the Earth and Sun went through major changes. When Earth formed 4.6 billion years ago, the Sun was 30 per- cent dimmer than it is now, according to stellar evolution models. At the time, Earth had a totally different atmosphere. It started off with an atmosphere consisting mostly of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide. Over billions of years, biological and geological activity removed most of the carbon from the atmosphere and replaced it with the free oxygen that now provides sustenance for all animal life. Remarkably, as the Sun heated up, and Earth's atmosphere completely changed over in composition, Earth's average temperature remained confined within a narrow range conducive to life always staying between 5 and 60 degrees Celsius. How has Earth managed to avoid either a runaway greenhouse effect or a permanent ice age? Geologists propose that a global thermostat ensures the atmosphere becomes neither too hot nor too cold. Volcanism and the motions of shifting oceanic and continental plates cycle carbon between the atmosphere and the interior. When Earth's climate cools, the process allows carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere to rise. Since carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat, this warms the planet. When the Earth warms up, the mechanism removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so the planet cools. This thermostat, many Earth scientists believe, has maintained a stable climate for eons. How many planetary systems in the Galaxy orbit a good sun, have a Jupiter, and have a rocky planet with both a large moon and a perfectly working thermostat? No one can say for sure, but it's probably a very small number. The moral of the story is that good planets are hard to find." (Naeye, R., "OK, Where Are They?," Astronomy, July 1996, Vol. 24, No. 7, pp.36-43, p.41) 19/06/2006 "Even if we assume that life originates on a good planet orbiting a good sun, it's by no means inevitable that a species with high intelligence will ever evolve. Many evolutionary biologists think the evolution of a highly intelligent species like Homo sapiens was a one-in-a-billion long shot. In his book Wonderful Life, Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould corrects the common misconception that evolution is a "march of progress" toward increasingly advanced life and intelligence. Instead, as Gould explains, the evolution of life is like a tree. Homo sapiens, like all of Earth's modern-day species, is but one tiny twig at the end of a long chain of increasingly smaller branches. No single twig is more `advanced' than any other twig; evolution does not work toward a goal. Gould's Harvard colleague Emst Mayr argues that the evolution of a twig capable of high technology is exceedingly improbable. He notes that only one of the four major kingdoms of life, the animals, went on to produce intelligence. Only one of the 70 phyla of animals, the chordates, produced intelligence. Only one class of chordates, the mammals, produced intelligence. Only one order of mammals, the primates, and only one family of primates, the great apes, produced high intelligence. And only after 25 million years of evolution and many failed lineages, did one particular ape evolve that was capable of high technology. Our own lineage went through millions of species. Because evolution is primarily a game of chance, any seemingly minor past event could have gone slightly different, cutting off our evolutionary line before humans evolved. ET proponents should be deeply discouraged that none of the millions of other lineages, representing the billions of species that have inhabited Earth during its existence, have made substantial progress toward high intelligence." (Naeye, R., "OK, Where Are They?," Astronomy, July 1996, Vol. 24, No. 7, pp.36-43, pp.41-42) 19/06/2006 "Unlike the development of eyes, which have evolved independently at least 40 different times in Earth's history, there has been no evolutionary "convergence" toward high intelligence. Intelligence may have evolved several times, but only in humans was it combined with the manual dexterity needed to make tools. And that combination seems to be the key that allowed humans to develop their high technology. The long series of bottlenecks makes it clear that the emergence of intelligent life is far more difficult than scientists once thought. There are probably more obstacles that scientists haven't even stumbled across yet. The origin of life on Earth, for example, might have been the ultimate long shot. ET proponents might counter that this line of reasoning is based on mere anthropocentric speculation. Maybe life and even intelligent life can take on various forms that we can't even imagine. But alternative life forms are the epitome of speculation. If one chooses to shun speculation and stick solely with observations, one can ask the same question that Nobel physicist Enrico Fermi put forth in 1950: If the Galaxy is teeming with intelligent life, where are they? The sobering reality is that there is no observational evidence whatsoever for the existence of other intelligent beings anywhere in the universe. If intelligent life is commonplace, our current astronomical instruments could possibly see evidence of their activities. But as UCLA astronomer Ben Zuckerman points out, there is no hint that the hand of technology has touched the universe. He notes that the Infrared Astronomical Satellite could have detected heat radiation from large-scale space colonies or astroengineering projects around several hundred Sun-like stars." (Naeye, R., "OK, Where Are They?," Astronomy, July 1996, Vol. 24, No. 7, pp.36-43, pp.42-43) 19/06/2006 "Even recognizing the vast distances between the stars, it's hard to imagine that all technological civilizations will remain confined to their home planetary systems. Just 40 years into our Space Age we have four probes leaving the solar system. In the year 1900 anybody would have laughed at the proposition that such an event would take place before the end of the century. With scientific knowledge doubling every 20 years, it would be equally shortsighted to rule out interstellar travel. If the Galaxy is teeming with technological civilizations, some of them will overcome the problems of interstellar travel and venture into deep space. Some will launch automated probes to explore other star systems. Some will send emissaries to colonize other planets. Others will migrate when their sun's hydrogen-burning life-cycle ends. When civilizations do venture into the Galaxy, our solar system, with its nurturing Sun and wealth of resources, will be a lucrative target. But UFOs, faces on Mars, and ancient astronauts notwithstanding, there's not a shred of credible evidence that Earth or even our solar system has ever been visited by extraterrestrials. Even if ETs have a `Prime Directive' prohibiting interference with life on Earth, they would be tempted to exploit the vast supply of iron, nickel, and other minerals in the planets and asteroids. But our solar system appears totally pristine, as if no outsiders have been here before." (Naeye, R., "OK, Where Are They?," Astronomy, July 1996, Vol. 24, No. 7, pp.36-43, p.43) 19/06/2006 "This evidence is far from definitive. Extraterrestrials could be in our solar system right now, with cloaking technology that hides them from our view while they patiently wait for us to mature. When scientists are confronted by multiple explanations for a phenomenon, they generally apply Occam's razor: Accept the simplest explanation with the fewest assumptions and reject the more fantastic and convoluted explanations. Perhaps the Galaxy is bustling with life and civilizations. But the simplest explanation, given the evidence in hand, points in the direction that we share the Galaxy with few others, or none at all. The most optimistic ET claims are often put forth by the scientists who listen for radio signals from extraterrestrial intelligence. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) represents a relatively inexpensive, experimental approach to this profound question. And although the chances of picking up a signal are slim, it certainly does no harm to look. But radio searches suffer because a negative result provides no information whatsoever about the preponderance of technological civilizations. Moreover, the discovery of quasars, pulsars, and the cosmic microwave background teaches us that if other civilizations inhabit the Galaxy, the first hint of their existence will likely come about by pure serendipity. But until that happens, it seems prudent to conclude that we are alone in a vast cosmic ocean, that in one important sense, we ourselves are special in that we go against the Copernican grain. If so, humanity represents matter and energy evolved to its highest level; whereby a tiny part of the universe on a small rock orbiting an average star in the outskirts of an ordinary spiral galaxy has brought itself to a state of consciousness that can ponder the questions of how the universe, and life itself, began, and what it all means." (Naeye R., "OK, Where Are They?," Astronomy, July 1996, Vol. 24, No. 7, p.43) 19/06/2006 "Darwin's fourth subtheory was that of natural selection, and it was the key to his broad scheme. Evolutionary change, said Darwin, is not the result of any mysterious Lamarckian drive, nor is it a simple matter of chance; it is the result of selection. Selection is a two-step process. The first step is the production of variation. In every generation, according to Darwin, an enormous amount of variation is generated. Darwin did not know the source of this variation, which could not be understood until after the rise of the science of genetics. All he had was his empirical knowledge of a seemingly inexhaustible reservoir of large and small differences within species. The second step is selection through survival in the struggle for existence. In most species of animals and plants a set of parents produces thousands if not millions of offspring. Darwin's reading of Thomas Malthus told him that very few of the offspring could survive. Which ones would have the best chance of surviving? They would be those individuals that have the most appropriate combination of characters for coping with the environment. including climate, competitors and enemies; they would have the greatest chance of surviving, of reproducing and of leaving survivors, and their characters would therefore be available for the next cycle of selection." (Mayr, E.W., "Evolution," Scientific American, Vol. 239, No. 3, September 1978, pp.40-41) 20/06/2006 Hydrothermal vents on sea floor In the late 1970s, scientists discovered several hydrothermal vents on the sea floor near the Galapagos Islands which sup- ported thriving communities of life, including tubeworms, clams and bacteria, whose primary source of energy is not light but sulfur compounds emitted by the vents. Dozens of similar vents have since been located. John Corliss of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has proposed that vents may have supplied the energy and nutrients needed to create and sustain life. [Ibid.] Thermal vent theory has not provided any hints regarding how the information problem might be addressed, only that the energy-rich environment might facilitate the production of the organic polymers that would have been important in the origin of life. Thus the work of assembly of building blocks, earlier estimated at 30 cal/gm, might be done in this way, but no solution to the more challenging information work term is afforded by the thermal vent hypothesis. Stanley Miller and Jeffrey Bada at the University of California at San Diego have done experiments that suggest the superheated water inside vents, which sometimes exceeds 572°F, would destroy rather than create complex organic compounds. As a result, Miller actually considers the vents a hindrance to the origin of life. Based on estimates that all of the water in the ocean passes through the thermal vents each ten million years [Edmond, J.M., von Damm, K.L., McDuff, R E. & Measures, C.I., "Chemistry of Springs on the East Pacific Rise and Their Effluent Dispersal," Nature, 297, 1982, p.1], Miller has estimated an upper limit for amino acid concentrations in the ocean to be 3 x 10^-4 M [Miller, S.L., "Which Organic Compound Could Have Occurred on Prebiotic Earth?," Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology, 52, 1987, p.17]. Since James Corliss and others agree that current life at the vents probably migrated there, the thermal-vent origin of life remains a vague idea, lacking both conceptual details and experimental support." (Bradley, W.L.* & Thaxton, C.B.*, "Information & the Origin of Life," in Moreland, J.P.*, ed., "The Creation Hypothesis: Scientific Evidence for an Intelligent Designer," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1994, p.194. Emphasis original) 21/06/2006 "It has always been felt that life must have originated on Earth after the formation of its oceans, approximately 4,000 million years ago, but before the first signs of fossil life, definitely 3,500 million years but possibly 3,850 million years ago. [Holland, H.D., "Evidence for life on Earth more than 3850 million years ago," Science, 275, January 3, 1997, pp.38-39] The end of the bombardment of the planets by meteorites, some of which could have vaporised entire oceans, occurred approximately 4,000-3,800 million years ago and, again, would probably haw placed a restraint on the time from which life could have evolved. [Maher, K.A. & Stevenson, D.J., "Impact frustration of the origin of life," Nature, Vol. 331, 18 February 1988, pp.612-614] Thus, depending on these factors, there is a short period of approximately 100-500 million years on Earth when life could have evolved." (Chambers, P., "Life on Mars: The Complete Story," Blandford: London, 1999, p.166) 21/06/2006 "Before life could originate, a number of requirements would have to be in place, the most important of which are water, organic compounds, an energy source and a site in which to concentrate them. All of these would have been available on both Mars and the Earth. The water and a carbon. dioxide atmosphere would have come from volcanic gases, the organic material from lightning strikes and carbonaceous material brought in by meteorites (such as the carbonaceous chondrites ...) and comets hitting the Earth and the energy from sunlight or the heat from volcanoes hot springs or other geological processes. Once these basic requirement had been met, there must have been four physical processes before life could have originated: the organic compounds must have accumulated together, they must then have formed larger, more complex molecules which must then themselves have formed into a early protocellular structure, and finally a self-contained system must have originated that could have taker in energy and nutrients from the environment in order to reproduce itself. [Deamer, D. "Prebiotic Conditions and the First Cells," in Lipps, J.H., ed., "Fossil Prokaryotes and Protists," Blackwell: Cambridge MA, 1993] There is much debate about how and where these processes operate." (Chambers, P., "Life on Mars: The Complete Story," Blandford: London, 1999, p.166) 21/06/2006 "Life could be seen as a kind of auto-constructing Meccano of inconceivable complexity - but, at bottom, still Meccano, which can be deconstructed into a box or two of tricks and a manual. I find it difficult to visualize life in these terms, even though this kind of reductionist view has claimed many (perhaps all) of the great victories in its understanding. What is abundantly clear is that all life - from bacterium to elephant - shares common characteristics at the level of molecules. There is a common thread that runs through the whole of biological existence. Individual genes on the ribosomal RNA are common to all life, and these are complex structures. It is hugely improbable that such genetic similarities arose by chance. These molecules run through life in the same way as the musical theme runs through the last movement of Brahms's Fourth Symphony. There is a set of variations which superficially sound very different but which are underpinned by a deeper similarity that binds the whole. The beauty of the structure depends upon the individuality of the passing music, and also upon the coherence of the construction. That vital spark from inanimate matter to animate life happened once and only once, and all living existence depends on that moment. We are one tribe with bacteria that live in hot springs, parasitic barnacles, vampire bats and cauliflowers. We all share a common ancestor. This astonishing fact carries an obvious corollary. The genesis of life was not easy; rather, it must have been an exquisite gamble in the face of thermodynamic odds, which work against self- replicating systems - those which acquire, rather than lose energy. If it were not so difficult, there should be evidence that some creatures were not born of the same clay as others. The primeval fingerprints of creation should still be ingrained in the molecules of every tissue of their bodies, and they should be different fingerprints from those identifying the rest of life. But this is not so. Descent seems to have been from one common source. But then the nub of the argument is reached: if life is such a remarkable thing, how, then, can we ever hope to duplicate such a singularity that happened so desperately against the odds? And if this difficulty is admitted, do we not also place ourselves for ever beyond the grasp of the new Philosopher's Stone?" (Fortey, R.A., "Life, An Unauthorised Biography: A Natural History of the First Four Thousand Million Years of Life on Earth," HarperCollins: London, 1997, pp.39-40. Emphasis original) 21/06/2006 "Lastly, Dr. Grant, my senior by several years, but how I became acquainted with him I cannot remember: he published some first-rate zoological papers, but after corning to London as Professor in University College, he did nothing more in science-a fact which has always been inexplicable to me. I knew him well; he was dry and formal in manner, but with much enthusiasm beneath this outer crust. He one day, when we were walking together burst forth in high admiration of Lamarck and his views on evolution. I listened in silent astonishment, and as far as I can judge, without any effect on my mind. I had previously read the Zoonomia of my grandfather, in which similar views are maintained, but without producing any effect on me. Nevertheless it is probable that the hearing rather early in life such views maintained and praised may have favoured my upholding them under a different form in my Origin of Species. At this time I admired greatly the Zoonomia ; but on reading it a second time after an interval of ten or fifteen years, I was much disappointed, the proportion of speculation being so large to the facts given." (Darwin, C.R., in Barlow, N., ed., "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809-1882: With Original Omissions Restored," , W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, 1969, reprint, pp.48-49) 21/06/2006 "Among the Darwin manuscripts, an invaluable document is his journal, a synopsis of his personal and scientific life, which he kept as a running record. He probably began it in August 1838, but he completed it retrospectively back to his childhood. In his Journal entry for 1837, he wrote, `In July opened first note book on `Transmutation of Species.' At the head of the first page of the first notebook, he wrote the title Zoonomia, in homage to his grandfather's evolutionary treatise of that name." (Gruber, H.E., "Darwin on Man: A Psychological Study of Scientific Creativity," together with Barrett, P.H., "Darwin's Early and Unpublished Notebooks," E.P. Dutton & Co: New York NY, 1974, p.xx) 21/06/2006 "In describing this and his later long summer vacations while at university, Darwin in his Autobiography remarks that they were `wholly given up to amusements', adding, `though I always had some book in my hand which I read with interest.' That is probably an understatement. There is reason to think he read a great deal, and it is not improbable that it was during the summer of 1826 that he read his grandfather's Zoonomia, since we know he had already done so before starting his second session at Edinburgh on 6 November 1826. [Barlow, N., "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin," Norton: New York, 1958, pp.49,53]" (Bowlby, J., "Charles Darwin: A New Life," , W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, 1992, reprint, p.86) 21/06/2006 "Darwin's membership of the Plinian Society led to many scientific friendships during this second session, and also to the first of the almost endless sequence of discoveries he would make. One of these friends was Dr Robert Grant (1793-1874), a physician and zoologist sixteen years his senior who at that time was lecturing on invertebrate anatomy. They explored the coast of the Firth of Forth together, searching for specimens of marine life which they could later dissect and examine under the microscope. Other specimens Darwin obtained from the local fishermen, whom he sometimes accompanied when they dredged for oysters. At that time the identity of some of these specimens was often still unknown, so there was always a chance of finding something new. On 27 March 1827, towards the end of the academic session, Darwin reported two of his findings to the Plinian Society. ... After describing these discoveries to the Plinian Society, Darwin wrote a report of them in the notebook he was keeping of his observations, naming also the various authorities whose works he had consulted. The motility of the so-called ova of Flustra (later identified as the larvae of another species), he writes, `does not appear to have been hitherto observed either by Lamarck, Cuvier, Lamouroux, or any other author.' [Ashworth, J.H.,"Charles Darwin as a student in Edinburgh 1825-27," Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Vol. 55, 1934-5, pp.98-101] The reference to Lamarck is of some interest since it shows that Darwin was familiar with Lamarck's work on invertebrate taxonomy. He had, it appears, [Egerton, F.N., "Darwin's Early Reading of Lamarck," Isis, Vol. 67, 1976, pp.452-456] copied out a classification chart from Lamarck's Systeme des animaux sans vertebres (1801), a volume containing, as a prefatorial chapter, a lecture that includes the first statement of Lamarck's theory of evolution." (Bowlby, J., "Charles Darwin: A New Life," , W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, 1992, reprint, pp.86-87) 21/06/2006 "Darwin's notebook of observations and other documents from this period demonstrate how seriously he took his field studies. They show also that, by the time he left Edinburgh, having just turned eighteen, he had already `acquired the methods of collecting and identification of specimens and the faculty of careful observation and interpretation' that were to be the hallmarks of his work during the famous voyage of a few years later. There is little doubt that most of Darwin's increasing skills were due to his friendship with Robert Grant. Grant was a very capable zoologist who had spent a winter ten years earlier in Paris studying under the great Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) and was familiar with the work of all the other French biologists, including that of Lamarck. Evolution had for long been an interest of his; indeed he had referred to Erasmus Darwin's Zoonomia in the thesis he had written for his degree. It is hardly surprising therefore that when Charles Darwin, a bright young student with a famous name, crossed his path he welcomed him on his field trips. Nor is it surprising that on one of them he should have spoken enthusiastically of Lamarck's ideas on evolution. Darwin describes the occasion in his Autobiography: `I knew [Grant] well; he was dry and formal in manner but with much enthusiasm beneath this outer crust. He one day, when we were talking together burst forth in high admiration of Lamarck and his views on evolution. I listened in silent astonishment, and as far as I can judge without any effect on my mind. I had previously read the Zoonomia of my grandfather in which similar views are maintained.' [Barlow, N., "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin," Norton: New York, 1958, p.49] Although Darwin insists that these ideas had no effect on him, he does concede that `hearing rather early in life such views maintained and praised may have favoured my upholding them under a different form in my Origin of Species. At this time,' he adds, `I admired greatly the Zoonomia.' [Ibid., p.49] Clearly, the notion that over the course of time one species can evolve to give rise to one or several new species was already thoroughly familiar to him, even though, as he well knew, it was deeply abhorred by established opinion." (Bowlby, J., "Charles Darwin: A New Life," , W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, 1992, reprint, p.88) 21/06/2006 "While at Edinburgh, Charles Darwin had become familiar with the views of his grandfather, Dr. Erasmus Darwin, so that evolutionary teaching was by no means new to him. Again and again, during the course of the voyage, he had been struck by the evidences of evolution which nature seemed to provide. Sometimes he would find a fossil of an animal that did not exactly resemble the skeletons of animals indigenous to the area. Or again, he would notice that in a group of islands, each island had its own peculiar species, so specific that the natives themselves could tell from which island a given specimen had come. Occasionally, Charles discussed the possibility of evolution with FitzRoy, though without expressing himself dogmatically. It was during the voyage that Darwin resolved to collect evidence which might bear upon the point. It was not long before he was entirely convinced as to the truth of evolution, and the problem that lay before him now, was how best to present the evidence to the scientific world. The myth that Darwin took twenty years to make up his mind on the subject has long since been exploded." (Clark, R.E.D.*, "Darwin: Before and After: An Examination and Assessment," , Paternoster: Exeter UK, 1966, reprint, p.57) 21/06/2006 "Of all Darwin's Edinburgh mentors, one stood out: a tall, satirical sponge expert, Robert Edmond Grant. He became closer to Charles and did more to influence him than anyone else in this period. ... Theirs was a decisive meeting. Darwin was coming under the wing of an uncompromising evolutionist. Nothing was sacred for Grant. As a freethinker, he saw no spiritual power behind nature's throne. The origin and evolution of life were due simply to physical and chemical forces, all obeying natural laws. Like his French heroes, the maligned Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Etienne Geoffroy St Hilaire - evolutionists both - he believed that a new imaginative vision was needed. ... Like Lamarck, Grant worked on the sponges, fascinated because they were so little understood. The very simplicity of these primitive sea animals, he believed, would enable us to understand their tissues more easily, and thereby to solve some of the knottier problems of the complex higher animals, including man. ... This was Darwin's walking companion. ... They marched out towards the coast together, umbrellas in hand, rapt in conversation, an inquisitive Darwin learning the questions to ask." (Desmond, A.J. & Moore, J.R., "Darwin," , Penguin: London, 1992, reprint, pp.33-35) 21/06/2006 "Through the winter and spring of 1827 he got to know Grant well. Darwin ... was quickly infected by Grant's enthusiasm for sea-slugs and their like. What he learned from Grant in these months was to shape his own initial approach to evolution ten years later. ... Darwin's unofficial tutor was now a world expert on marine invertebrates. Grant pointed out what to look for, and Darwin filled a notebook in March and April 1827 with observations on the larvae of molluscs and sea-mats, and the stalked sea-pens. He was fascinated. These creatures were very primitive; arguments even flared over whether sponges were animals or plants. With Darwin's help, Grant was showing that they lay close to the root of the animal kingdom, and he believed that they held clues to the common foundations of all life. ... Darwin was now treading in Grant's footsteps. ... Grant, a fluent French speaker and friend of the savants, pushed him deeper into the writings of Lamarck and his colleagues. ... Darwin also got hold of Lamarck's System of Invertebrate Animals and found the classification charts easier to translate. No, the French had not spotted the cilia. Darwin saw his observation help to confirm Grant's belief that the larvae of all these marine animals were free-swimming. ["Edinburgh Zoology Notebook," in Barrett, P.H., ed., "The Collected Papers of Charles Darwin," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, 1977, Vol. 2, p.288]" (Desmond, A.J. & Moore, J.R., "Darwin," , Penguin: London, 1992, reprint, pp.36-38) 21/06/2006 "The notion that vertebrates displayed a `unity of plan' was much in vogue in Paris in the early 1820s. But Grant ... took it to radical extremes. He argued that all animals, from people to polyps, shared similar organs, which differed only in their complexity. ... Grant was even more controversial in giving the animals in this threaded sequence a real blood line. Walking with Darwin, he sang Lamarck's praises. At first Darwin was surprised - after all, the prevailing view was that each species had been directly created. But Grant's provocative ideas were well known. In his talks he had presented the sponge as the `parent' of higher animals. Nor was he alone; free rein was given to speculation in the Edinburgh Museum. Even dry-as-dust Jameson penned an anonymous paper in 1826 praising `Mr Lamarck' for explaining how the higher animals had `evolved' from the `simplest worms.' (This was the first use of the word `evolved' in a modern sense.) Grant assumed that, as the primal earth cooled, changing conditions drove life towards higher, hotterblooded forms. A progressive sequence of fossils stood as proof. He explained it as they strode along, and Darwin listened in `silent astonishment.' [Barlow, N., "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin," Norton: New York, 1958, p.49] Grant probably also mentioned his love of old Erasmus's Zoonomia. He had cited the book in his doctoral thesis, and admitted that it opened his `mind to some of "the laws of organic life".' Now, here he was, walking with Erasmus's grandson; the opportunity was surely not lost. With Charles equally fond of the Zoonomia, their talk must have turned to those `perpetual transformations' of nature which had so delighted its author. [Burkhardt, F.H. & Smith, S., eds., "The Correspondence of Charles Darwin,". Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1985; Vol. 1, pp.22,36-39,41]. (Desmond, A.J. & Moore, J.R., "Darwin," , Penguin: London, 1992, reprint, pp.38-40. Emphasis original) 22/06/2006 "But at other times he [Darwin] was willing to assume a more modest role in the history of biology: 'State broadly scarcely any novelty in my theory, only slight differences, the opinion of many people in conversation. The whole object of the book is its proof, its limiting the allowing at same time true species & its adaptation to classification & affinities its extension' (my italics). [de Beer G., ed., "Darwin's Notebooks on Transmutation of Species," Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Historical Series 2, 23-183, 1960, p.104] And later the same year (1838) he wrote: 'Seeing what Von Buch (Humboldt) G.St. Hilaire, & Lamarck have written I pretend to no originality of idea - (though I arrived at them quite independently & have used them since) the line of proof & reducing facts to law only merit if merit there be in following work' (my italics). [Ibid., p.138] This claim to originality is rather surprising, considering that he had known Lamarck's work since his time in Edinburgh and von Humboldt's since his last year in Cambridge." (Lovtrup S., "Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth," Croom Helm: London, 1987, p.56. Emphasis original) 22/06/2006 "When we remember this admission and the fact that Erasmus was rather nearer the modern theory than Charles, and when we also recall the tendency to honour the scientist who originates a theory rather than the one who finally proves it true, we may well conclude that the credit ought to be divided more equally between the two Darwins than has hitherto been customary.This conclusion is reinforced by the astonishingly close links between their work: the Darwinian theory of evolution was a family affair. We have already noticed the tradition of paternal domination in the Darwin family down to Charles: Erasmus's father, though tender, kept his children in awe; Erasmus dominated his sons, of whom Robert adopted most of his father's ideas; and Charles's excessive dependence on his father (Robert) is remarked by all his biographers. So, when his father advocated Erasmus's views on evolution, Charles could not fail to be impressed, as he admitted somewhat casually: 'It is probable that the hearing rather early in life such views maintained and praised may have favoured my upholding them under a different form in my Origin of Species'. [Barlow, N., "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin," Norton: New York, 1958, p.49] It is generally agreed that Charles Darwin's comments on the earlier evolutionists reveal his otherwise endearing character at its least attractive, and the disclaimer under a different form seems to be a gratuitous insult to his grandfather. As Darlington has put it, he `damned Lamarck and also his grandfather for being very ill-dressed fellows at the same moment that he was engaged on stealing their clothes'. [Darlington, C.D., "Darwin's Place in History," Blackwell: Oxford, 1959, p.62] With or without its disclaimer, however, Charles's statement is more revealing than he meant it to be, because to-day we tend to regard childish impressions as more indelible than the Victorians imagined. And Charles Darwin, remember, was famous for his retentive memory. The same page of Charles's Autobiography offers further evidence on this topic: ` I had previously read the Zoonomia of my grandfather, in which similar views [on evolution] are maintained, but without producing any effect on me.... At this time [c. 1827] I greatly admired the Zoonomia .' [Barlow, 1958, p.49] Charles was obviously unconscious of his grandfather's influence: it was one of the virtues of his evolutionary work that he rethought the theory without conscious reference to his predecessors." (King-Hele D., "Erasmus Darwin," Charles Scribner's Sons: New York NY, 1963, pp.82-84. Emphasis original) 22/06/2006 "Because the idea of transmutation was exploited by some early nineteenth-century revolutionaries, it was difficult for less extreme radicals to use the theory without being tarred with the same brush. Nevertheless, there were some radically minded biologists who were prepared to take the risk. Writing of his days as a medical student in Edinburgh, Darwin later recalled his acquaintance with the young lecturer Robert Edmond Grant, who `one day, when we were walking together burst forth in high admiration of Lamarck and his views on evolution'. [Barlow, N., "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin," Norton: New York, 1958, p.49] In his Autobiography Darwin hastened to distance himself from Grant by continuing: `I listened in silent astonishment, and as far as I can judge, without any effect on my mind'. As a result, historians have tended to dismiss Grant as a minor figure, an unlucky precursor of evolutionism who could not gain a hearing. More recent research has now begun to suggest a very different picture. At the beginning of his career Grant was seen as a future leader in his field and his radical opinions were widely circulated. He may not have converted the young Darwin to evolutionism in 1826, but he certainly influenced Darwin's thinking by suggesting important topics of research. [Sloan, P.R. "Darwin's Invertebrate Program, 1826-36," in: Kohn, D., ed., "The Darwinian Heritage," Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ, 1985, pp.71-120] " (Bowler, P.J., "Charles Darwin: The Man and His Influence," , Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 2000, reprint, p.21) 22/06/2006 "These zoological researches provided the occasion of Darwin's first properly scientific paper, delivered to the Plinian Society on 27 March 1827 (not `at the beginning of the year 1826' as stated in his Autobiography). Grant gave Darwin some small problems to resolve in relation to the genus Flustra, a highly anomalous colonial animal that creeps over tidal rocks rather like a seaweed, in which the minute polyps, though arranged in branches, are to all intents and purposes unconnected with one another. Part of the individual polyp's life cycle involved collapsing into a withered ball that subsequently regenerated apparently without sexual intervention. Did these too reproduce by eggs that swim? Darwin, poring over a `wretched microscope' lent by Grant one evening, thought that they did. In one of the most intense moments of his early life, he witnessed the uninhibited fertilization dance of seaweeds and other simple organisms, where iridescent molecules (the spermatozoa and ova of modern science) shimmer and pulse around each other. The tiny reproductive gemmules `glided to & fro with so rapid a motion, as at some distance to be distinctly visible to the naked eye:' Glowing with his first zoological discovery, and deeply excited by seeing life in all its marvellous activity going on under the microscope, he proudly recited a litany of famous zoologists who had missed seeing the same wonderful dance: `That such ova had organs of motion does not appear to have been hitherto observed either by Lamarck Cuvier Lamouroux or any other author.' [Barrett, P.H., ed., `The Collected Papers of Charles Darwin,' University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, 1977, Vol. 2, p.288]" The point was announced by Darwin at the next meeting of the Plinian in tandem with a longer paper by Grant on the broader natural history of all the Scottish species of Flustra." (Browne, E.J., "Charles Darwin Voyaging: A Biography," , Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ, 1996, reprint, p.82) 24/06/2006 "All the foregoing rules and aids and difficulties in classification may be explained, if I do not greatly deceive myself, on the view that the Natural System is founded on descent with modification; - that the characters which naturalists consider as showing true affinity between any two or more species, are those which have been inherited from a common parent, all true classification being genealogical; - that community of descent is the hidden bond which naturalists have been unconsciously seeking, and not some unknown plan of creation, or the enunciation of general propositions, and the mere putting together and separating objects more or less alike. But I must explain my meaning more fully. I believe that the arrangement of the groups within each class, in due subordination and relation to each other, must be strictly genealogical in order to be natural; but that the amount of difference in the several branches or groups, though allied in the same degree in blood to their common progenitor, may differ greatly, being due to the different degrees of modification which they have undergone; and this is expressed by the forms being ranked under different genera, families, sections, or orders." (Darwin, C.R., "The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection," 1872, Sixth edition, Senate: London, 1994, p.368) 24/06/2006 "But the analogy of the evolutionary tree as an explanation for the nested hierarchy of biological form meets up with a few difficulties. ... in the tree analogy, the number of major branches increases through time. The branches arise due to the proliferation of twigs so the number of twigs increases faster than numbers of branches. In the fossil record, however, such a "cone of increasing diversity" [Gould S.J., "Wonderful Life," Norton: New York, 1989, p.304] is not observed. Instead, the number of major groups we have today was achieved early in earth history, when species diversity was low. In fact, the number of classes of arthropods and echinoderms at the time of the first appearance of each of these groups was actually higher than it is at present.12 [Gould, 1989, pp.167, 302] This would argue-as do the distribution of species, higher group stasis and the paucity of intermediates-that major groups do not arise due to a proliferation of species. Yet no evolutionary mechanism for how this transformation did occur has yet been found." (Wise, K.P.*, "The Origin of Life's Major Groups," in Moreland, J.P.*, ed., "The Creation Hypothesis: Scientific Evidence for an Intelligent Designer," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1994, pp.219-220) 24/06/2006 "Moreover, we found the same pattern as a generality for groups in early phases of expansion. The bottom- heavy signature is not an oddity of Cambrian invertebrate life, but a general statement about the nature of evolutionary diversification. For example, mammalian lineages that arose during the Paleocene epoch, the initial period of explosive diversification following the demise of dinosaurs, tend to be bottom-heavy, while lineages arising later are symmetrical. We may interpret this bottom-heavy pattern in several ways. I like to think of it as `early experimentation and later standardization.' Major lineages seem able to generate remarkable disparity of anatomical design at the outset of their history-early experimentation. Few of these designs survive an initial decimation, and later diversification occurs only within the restricted anatomical boundaries of these survivors-later standardization. The number of species may continue to increase, and may reach maximal values late in the history of lineages, but these profound diversifications occur within restricted anatomies-nearly a million described species of modern insects, but only three basic arthropod designs today, compared with more than twenty in the Burgess. However we interpret this bottom-heavy pattern, it strongly reinforces the case for contingency, and validates the principal theme of this book. First, the basic pattern is a disproof of our standard and comfortable iconography-the cone of increasing diversity. The thrall of this iconography and its underlying conceptual base prevented Walcott from grasping the true extent of Burgess disparity, and has continued to portray the controlling pattern of evolution in a direction opposite to its actual form. Second, maximal initial disparity and later decimation give the broadest possible role to contingency, for if the current taxonomic structure of life records the few fortunate survivors in a lottery of decimation, rather than the end result of progressive diversification by adaptive improvement, then a replay of life's tape would yield a substantially different set of surviving anatomies and a later history making perfect sense in its own terms but markedly different from the one we know." (Gould S.J., "Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, p.304) 24/06/2006 "Mass extinctions have been recorded since the dawn of paleontology. These episodes mark the major boundaries of the geological time scale. ... The subject of mass extinction has received a new life in excitement, novel ideas, and hard data during the past ten years. The initial stimulant was, of course, Alvarez's theory of extinction triggered by extraterrestrial impact ... I do discern a general theme that can be epitomized in a statement with far-ranging implications: mass extinctions are more frequent, rapid, devastating in magnitude, and distinctively different in effect than we formerly imagined. Mass extinctions, in other words, seem to be genuine disruptions in geological flow, not merely the high points of a continuity. They may result from environmental change at such a rate, and with so drastic a result, that organisms cannot adjust by the usual forces of natural selection. Thus, mass extinctions can derail, undo, and reorient whatever might be accumulating during the "normal" times between." (Gould S.J., "Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, pp.305-306. Emphasis original) 24/06/2006 "The main question raised by mass extinction has always been, Is there any pattern to who gets through and who doesn't-and if so, what causes the pattern? ... I don't, myself, believe that true randomness predominates in mass extinctions (though it probably plays some role, particularly in the most profound of the great dyings). I think that most survivors get through for specific reasons, often a complex set of causes. But I also strongly suspect that in a great majority of cases, the traits that enhance survival during an extinction do so in ways that are incidental and unrelated to the causes of their evolution in the first place. This contention is the centerpiece of the different-rules model. Animals evolve their sizes, shapes, and physiologies under natural selection in normal times, and for specifiable reasons (usually involving adaptive advantage). Along comes a mass extinction, with its "different rules" for survival. Under the new regulations, the very best of your traits, the source of your previous flourishing, may now be your death knell. A trait with no previous significance, one that had just hitchhiked along for the developmental ride as a side consequence of another adaptation, may now hold the key to your survival. There can be no causal correlation in principle between the reasons for evolving a feature and its role in survival under the new rules. (The key issue for testing this model therefore lies in establishing that new rules do, indeed, prevail.) A species, after all, cannot evolve structures with a view to their potential usefulness millions of years down the road-unless our general ideas about causality are markedly awry, and the future can control the present. (Gould, S.J., "Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, p.306. Emphasis original) 25/06/2006 "Major steps of evolution THE ORIGIN OF LIFE Whether the earth cooled from a molten mass or condensed out of cold dust, life could not have existed when the earth was formed some 5,000,000,000 years ago; it must have originated since. Several well-known scientists have shown that the primitive atmosphere must have been a reducing one (i.e., without free oxygen). When a sample atmosphere of hydrogen, water vapour, ammonia, and methane was subjected to electric discharges and ultraviolet light, large numbers of organic compounds- fatty acids and amino acids, the building blocks of proteins-were obtained by automatic synthesis. This proved that a prebiological synthesis of complex compounds was possible. It is now believed that phosphates, enzymes, and nucleic acids were formed in this way on the primeval earth under ultraviolet light energy. Enzymes accelerate the synthesis of complex compounds out of simple substances and nucleic acids replicate. As both processes are the characteristic of life, it is not unreasonable to suppose that life originated in a watery `soup' of prebiological organic compounds and that living organisms arose later by surrounding quantities of these compounds by membranes that made them into `cells.' This is usually considered the starting point of organic ('Darwinian') evolution." (de Beer, G.R., "Evolution," Encyclopaedia Britannica, Benton: Chicago IL, Fifteenth Edition, 1984, Vol. 7, p.17. Emphasis original) 25/06/2006 "Darwin did two things: he showed that evolution was a fact contradicting scriptural legends of creation and that its cause, natural selection, was automatic with no room for divine guidance or design. Furthermore, if there had been design, it must have been very maleficent to cause all the suffering and pain that befall animals and men" (de Beer, G.R., "Evolution," Encyclopaedia Britannica, Benton: Chicago IL, Fifteenth Edition, 1984, Vol. 7, p.23) 25/06/2006 "In 1860 T.H. Huxley demolished the arguments of Bishop Samuel Wilberforce. In the famous `monkey trial' conviction of schoolteacher John T. Scopes in 1925, a Tennessee law banning the teaching of evolution was upheld, but years later, in 1968, the United States Supreme Court ruled that anti- evolution laws were unconstitutional." (de Beer, G.R., "Evolution," Encyclopaedia Britannica, Benton: Chicago IL, Fifteenth Edition, 1984, Vol. 7, p.23) 25/06/2006 "The Vatican leaves open the question of the evolution of man's body, provided it be believed that the body was derived from other living matter, that all mankind is descended from one pair (Adam and Eve), that man's soul was created by God, and that evolution took place under the dispensation of Divine Providence. Science cannot comment on the soul, but the other provisos are unacceptable to evolutionary biologists." (de Beer, G.R., "Evolution," Encyclopaedia Britannica, Benton: Chicago IL, Fifteenth Edition, 1984, Vol. 7, p.23) 25/06/2006 "The distinctions which we are here discussing are of truly world-historical importance when we come to consider what is probably the most influential teaching of the modern age, the Evolutionist Doctrine. It is obvious that this doctrine cannot be classed with the instructional sciences: it belongs to the descriptive sciences. The question, therefore, is: `What does it describe?' `Evolution in biology,' says Julian Huxley, `is a loose and comprehensive term applied to cover any and every change occurring in the constitution of systematic units of animals and plants. ...' [Huxley, J.S., "Evolution: The Modern Synthesis," , George Allen & Unwin: London, 1945, reprint, p.42] That there has been change in the constitution of species of animals and plants in the past is amply attested by the fossils found in the earth's crust; with the help of radioactive dating, they have been put into historical sequence with a very high degree of scientific certainty. Evolution, as a generalization within the descriptive science of biological change, can for this as well as for other reasons be taken as established beyond any doubt whatever. The Evolutionist Doctrine, however, is a very different matter. Not content to confine itself to a systematic description of biological change, it purports to prove and explain it in much the same manner as proof and explanation are offered in the instructional sciences. This is a philosophical error with the most disastrous consequences. `Darwin,' we are told, `did two things: he showed that evolution was in fact contradicting scriptural legends of creation and that its cause, natural selection, was automatic with no room for divine guidance or design.' [de Beer, G.R., "Evolution," Encyclopaedia Britannica, Benton: Chicago IL, Fifteenth Edition, 1984, Vol. 7, p.23] It should be obvious to anyone capable of philosophical thought that scientific observation as such can never do these `two things.' `Creation,' `divine guidance,' and `divine design' are completely outside the possibility of scientific observation." (Schumacher, E.F., "A Guide for the Perplexed," , Harper & Row: New York NY, 1978, reprint, pp.111-112. Emphasis original) 25/06/2006 "Every animal or plant breeder knows beyond doubt that selection, including `natural selection,' produces change; it is therefore scientifically correct to say that `natural selection has been proved to be an agent of evolutionary change.' We can, in fact, prove it by doing. But it is totally illegitimate to claim that the discovery of this mechanism-natural selection-proves that evolution `was automatic with no room for divine guidance or design.' It can be proved that people get money by finding it in the street, but no one would consider this sufficient reason for the assumption that all incomes are earned in this way." (Schumacher, E.F., "A Guide for the Perplexed," , Harper & Row: New York NY, 1978, reprint, pp.111-112. Emphasis original) 25/06/2006 "The Doctrine of Evolutionism is generally presented in a manner which betrays and offends against all principles of scientific probity. It starts with the explanation of changes in living beings; then, without warning, it suddenly purports to explain not only the development of consciousness, self-awareness, language, and social institutions but also the origin of life itself. `Evolution,' we are told, `is accepted by all biologists and natural selection is recognised as its cause.' Since the origin of life is described as a `major step in evolution, ` [de Beer, G.R., `Evolution,' Encyclopaedia Britannica, Benton: Chicago IL, Fifteenth Edition, 1984, Vol. 7, p.17] we are asked to believe that inanimate matter is a masterful practitioner of natural selection. For the Doctrine of Evolutionism any possibility, no matter how remote, appears to be acceptable as if it were scientific proof that the thing actually happened: `When a sample atmosphere of hydrogen, water vapour, ammonia, and methane was subjected to electric discharges and ultraviolet light, large numbers of organic compounds ... were obtained by automatic synthesis. This proved that a prebiological synthesis of complex compounds was possible.' [Ibid.] On this basis we are expected to believe that living beings suddenly made their appearance by pure chance and, having done so, were able to maintain themselves in the general chaos: It is not unreasonable to suppose that life originated in a watery `soup' of prebiological organic compounds and that living organisms arose later by surrounding quantities of these compounds by membranes that made them into `cells.' This is usually considered the starting point of organic ('Darwinian') evolution. [Ibid.] One can just see it, can't one: organic compounds getting together and surrounding themselves by membranes-nothing could be simpler for these clever compounds-and lo! there is the cell, and once the cell has been born there is nothing to stop the emergence of Shakespeare, although it will obviously take a bit of time. There is therefore no need to speak of miracles or to admit any lack of knowledge. It is one of the great paradoxes of our age that people claiming the proud title of `scientist' dare to offer such undisciplined and reckless speculations as contributions to scientific knowledge, and that they get away with it." (Schumacher, E.F., "A Guide for the Perplexed," , Harper & Row: New York NY, 1978, reprint, pp.112-113. Emphasis original) 25/06/2006 "Karl Stern, a psychiatrist with great insight, has commented thus: `If we present, for the sake of argument, the theory of evolution in a most scientific formulation, we have to say something like this: "At a certain moment of time the temperature of the Earth was such that it became most favourable for the aggregation of carbon atoms and oxygen with the nitrogen-hydrogen combination, and that from random occurrences of large clusters molecules occurred which were most favourably structured for the coming about of life, and from that point it went on through vast stretches of time, until through processes of natural selection a being finally occurred which is capable of choosing love over hate and justice over injustice, of writing poetry like that of Dante, composing music like that of Mozart, and making drawings like those of Leonardo." Of course, such a view of cosmogenesis is crazy. And I do not at all mean crazy in the sense of slangy invective but rather in the technical meaning of psychotic. Indeed such a view has much in common with certain aspects of schizophrenic thinking. ' [Stern, K., "The Flight from Woman," Farrar, Straus & Giroux: New York, 1965, p.290]" (Schumacher, E.F., "A Guide for the Perplexed," , Harper & Row: New York NY, 1978, reprint, p.113. Emphasis original) 25/06/2006 "It is the task of science to observe and to report on its observations. It is not useful for it to postulate the existence of causative agents, like a Creator, intelligences, or designers, who are outside all possibilities of direct observation. `Let us see how far we can explain phenomena by observable causes' is an eminently sensible and, in fact, very fruitful methodological principle. Evolutionism, however, turns methodology into a faith which excludes, ex hypothesi, the possibility of all higher grades of significance. The whole of nature, which obviously includes mankind, is taken as the product of chance and necessity and nothing else; there is neither meaning nor purpose nor intelligence in it `a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing.' This is The Faith, and all contradicting observations have to be either ignored or interpreted in such a way that the The Faith is upheld." (Schumacher, E.F., "A Guide for the Perplexed," , Harper & Row: New York NY, 1978, reprint, pp.113-114. Emphasis original) 25/06/2006 "Evolutionism as currently presented has no basis in science. It can be described as a peculiarly degraded religion, many of whose high priests do not even believe in what they proclaim. Despite widespread disbelief, the doctrinaire propaganda which insists that the scientific knowledge of evolution leaves no room for any higher faith continues unabated. Counterarguments are simply ignored. The article on `Evolution' in The New Encyclopaedia Britannica (1975) concludes with a section entitled `The Acceptance of Evolution,' which claims that `objections to evolution have come from theological and, for a time, from political standpoints.' [de Beer, G.R., "Evolution," Encyclopaedia Britannica, Benton: Chicago IL, Fifteenth Edition, 1984, Vol. 7, p.17] Who would suspect, reading this, that the most serious objections have been raised by numerous biologists and other scientists of unimpeachable credentials? It is evidently thought unwise to mention them, and books like Douglas Dewar's The Transformist Illusion, which offers an overwhelming refutation of Evolutionism on purely scientific grounds, are not considered fit for inclusion in the bibliography on the subject." (Schumacher, E.F., "A Guide for the Perplexed," , Harper & Row: New York NY, 1978, reprint, p.114. Emphasis original) 25/06/2006 "Evolutionism is not science; it is science fiction, even a kind of hoax. It is a hoax that has succeeded too well and has imprisoned modern man in what looks like an irreconcilable conflict between `science' and `religion.' It has destroyed all faiths that pull mankind up and has substituted a faith that pulls mankind down. `Nil admirari. ` Chance and necessity and the utilitarian mechanism of natural selection may produce curiosities, improbabilities, atrocities, but nothing to be admired as an achievement-just as winning a prize in a lottery cannot elicit admiration. Nothing is `higher' or `lower'; everything is much of a muchness, even though some things are more complex than others just by chance. Evolutionism, purporting to explain all and everything solely and exclusively by natural selection for adaptation and survival, is the most extreme product of the materialistic utilitarianism of the nineteenth century. The inability of twentieth- century thought to rid itself of this imposture is a failure which may well cause the collapse of Western civilization. For it is impossible for any civilization to survive without a faith in meanings and values transcending the utilitarianism of comfort and survival, in other words, without a religious faith." (Schumacher, E.F., "A Guide for the Perplexed," , Harper & Row: New York NY, 1978, reprint, pp.114-115. Emphasis original) 25/06/2006 "There can be little doubt,' observes Martin Lings, `that in the modern world more cases of loss of religious faith are to be traced to the theory of evolution as their immediate cause than to anything else. It is true, surprising as it may seem, that many people still contrive to live out their lives in a tepid and precarious combination of religion and evolutionism. But for the more logically minded, there is no option but to choose between the two, that is, between the doctrine of the fall of man and the `doctrine' of the rise of man, and to reject altogether the one not chosen. ... Millions of our contemporaries have chosen evolutionism on the grounds that evolution is a `scientifically proved truth', as many of them were taught it at school; the gulf between them and religion is widened still further by the fact that the religious man, unless he happens to be a scientist, is unable to make a bridge between himself and them by producing the right initial argument, which must be on the scientific plane.' [Lings, M., `Studies in Comparative Religion,' Vol. 4, No. 1, 1970, p.59] If it is not on the `scientific plane,' he will be shouted down `and reduced to silence by all sorts of scientific jargon.' The truth of the matter, however, is that the initial argument must not be on the scientific plane; it must be philosophical. It amounts simply to this: that descriptive science becomes unscientific and illegitimate when it indulges in comprehensive explanatory theories which can be neither verified nor disproved by experiment. Such theories are not `science' but `faith.'" (Schumacher, E.F., "A Guide for the Perplexed," , Harper & Row: New York NY, 1978, reprint, pp.115-116. Emphasis original) 25/06/2006 "Haptoglossa mirabilis - produces a very complex and sophisticated attack cell called the `Gun Cell'. The Haptoglossa gun cell is the most complicated cell known in the fungi and arguably more sophisticated than the `nematocyst'. It shoots off an infective sporidium into a moving rotifer or nematode in a fraction of a second. How does it do this? When a nematode touches a gun cell, a harpoon-shaped projectile is shot off and blows a hole through the cuticle of the nematode. An internal tubular device in the gun cell everts through this hole and forms a hypodermic-like structure that penetrates into the body of the animal. The osmotic power of the basal vacuole in the gun cell is very high. It takes in water rapidly and pumps the protoplasm and nucleus from the gun cell through the hypodermic and into the body of the host to form an infection sporidium. It takes about 1/10 sec from the time the nematode is touched until the infective sporidium is released into the body of the host. This sporidium grows at the expense of the host to form a cylindrical `thallus' that feeds on the contents of the body which are completely consumed within a few days. The protoplasm in the infection thallus now cleaves to form zoospores that escape through exit tubes and swim off to encyst elsewhere and subsequently germinate to form clusters of gun cells. The harpoon-shaped projectile is especially remarkabl ... The head of the harpoon is laminated. This means that it is compressible. As it is pushed up the barrel of the gun it will fit tightly and prevent leakage to maintain maximum muzzle velocity. As it emerges from the muzzle it pierces the cuticle of the nematode. At the head emerges it will 'decompress' and make a hole wider than the width of the bore. This will facilitate penetration by the everting tubular `hypodermic'. The gun cell is anchored to the substratum by a mucilaginous glue. It also has a swollen base. When the base is anchored the business end of the gun cell is then tilted upwards at an angle of about 30 degrees which is very suitable for contact with the nematodes and rotifers that graze bacteria in the vicinity of the cell. The basal vacuole is the power pack for the cell. It is at high Osmotic Pressure. When the gun cell is released the pressure up front is removed and water flows in rapidly through the semipermeable membrane surrounding the vacuole. This squeezes the protoplasm and nucleus, like toothpaste, through the tubular hypodermic. The Haptoglossa gun cell is only about 15 microns long." (Barron, G., "Gun Cell," July 2000) 25/06/2006 "All that is needed as the starting point for the development of eyes is the existence of light-sensitive cells. Natural selection will then favor the acquisition of any needed auxiliary mechanism. This is why photo- receptors or eyes have evolved independently more than forty times in the animal kingdom (Plawen and Mayr, 1977)." (Mayr, E.W., "The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance," Belknap Press: Cambridge MA, 1982, p.611) 25/06/2006 "It has long been appreciated that it is our brain that makes us human. Any other part of our anatomy can be matched or surpassed by a corresponding structure in some other animal. Still, fundamentally, the human brain is very similar to other, far smaller and simpler mammalian brains. The unique character of our brain seems to lie in the existence of many (perhaps as many as forty) different types of neurons, some perhaps specifically human. What is perhaps most astonishing is the fact that the human brain seems not to have changed one single bit since the first appearance of Homo sapiens, some 150,000 years ago. The cultural rise of the human species from primitive hunter-gatherer to agriculture and city civilizations took place without an appreciable increase in brain size. It seems that in an enlarged, more complex society, a bigger brain is no longer rewarded by a reproductive advantage. It certainly shows that there is no teleological trend toward a steady brain increase in the hominid lineage. It used to be believed that bipedal locomotion and tool use were the most important steps in hominization. The realization of the apelike nature of bipedal Australopithecus and the discovery of tool use among chimpanzees (and other animals) have led to an abandonment of this belief. Instead, the rapid growth of the brain seems to have been correlated with two developments in human evolution: the emancipation of hominids from the safety of life in trees and the development of speech, the human system of communication. How did these things come about?" (Mayr, E.W., "What Evolution Is," Basic Books: New York, 2001, p.252) 26/06/2006 "Some authors have maintained that the amount of variation in our domestic productions is soon reached, and can never afterwards be exceeded. It would be somewhat rash to assert that the limit has been attained in any one case; for almost all our animals and plants have been greatly improved in many ways within a recent period; and this implies variation. It would be equally rash to assert that characters now increased to their usual limit, could not, after remaining fixed for many centuries, again vary under new conditions of life. No doubt, as Mr. Wallace has remarked with much truth, a limit will be at last reached. For instance, there must be a limit to the fleetness of any terrestrial animal, as this will be determined by the friction to be overcome, the weight of body to be carried, and the power of contraction in the muscular fibres. But what concerns us is that the domestic varieties of the same species differ from each other in almost every character, which man has attended to and selected, more than do the distinct species of the same genera. Isidore Geoffroy St. Hilaire has proved this in regard to size, and so it is with colour and probably with the length of hair. With respect to fleetness, which depends on many bodily characters, Eclipse was far fleeter, and a dray horse is incomparably stronger than any two natural species belonging to the same genus. So with plants, the seeds of the different varieties of the bean or maize probably differ more in size, than do the seeds of the distinct species in any one genus in the same two families. The same remark holds good in regard to the fruit of the several varieties of the plum, and still more strongly with the melon, as well as in many other analogous cases." (Darwin, C.R., "The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection," 1872, Sixth Edition, Senate: London, 1994, p.30) 26/06/2006 "It has often been asserted, but the assertion is incapable of proof, that the amount of variation under nature is a strictly limited quantity. Man, though acting on external characters alone and often capriciously, can produce within a short period a great result by adding up mere individual differences in his domestic productions; and every one admits that species present individual differences. But, besides such differences, all naturalists admit that natural varieties exist, which are considered sufficiently distinct to be worthy of record in systematic works. No one has drawn any clear distinction between individual differences and slight varieties; or between more plainly marked varieties and sub-species and species. On separate continents, and on different parts of the same continent when divided by barriers of any kind, and on outlying islands, what a multitude of forms exist, which some experienced naturalists rank as varieties, others as geographical races or subspecies, and others as distinct, though closely allied species! If then, animals and plants do vary, let it be ever so slightly or slowly, why should not variations or individual differences, which are in any way beneficial, be preserved and accumulated through natural selection, or the survival of the fittest? If man can by patience select variations useful to him, why, under changing and complex conditions of life, should not variations useful to nature's living products often arise, and be preserved or selected? What limit can be put to this power, acting during long ages and rigidly scrutinising the whole constitution, structure, and habits of each creature,-favouring the good and rejecting the bad? I can see no limit to this power, in slowly and beautifully adapting each form to the most complex relations of life. The theory of natural selection, even if we look no farther than this, seems to be in the highest degree probable." (Darwin, C.R., "The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection," 1872, Sixth Edition, Senate: London, 1994, p.412) 26/06/2006 "Why, it may be asked, until recently did nearly all the most eminent living naturalists and geologists disbelieve in the mutability of species? It cannot be asserted that organic beings in a state of nature are subject to no variation; it cannot be proved that the amount of variation in the course of long ages is a limited quantity; no clear distinction has been, or can be, drawn between species and well-marked varieties. It cannot be maintained that species when intercrossed are invariably sterile, and varieties invariably fertile; or that sterility is a special endowment and sign of creation. The belief that species were immutable productions was almost unavoidable as long as the history of the world was thought to be of short duration; and now that we have acquired some idea of the lapse of time, we are too apt to assume, without proof, that the geological record is so perfect that it would have afforded us plain evidence of the mutation of species, if they had undergone mutation." (Darwin, C.R., "The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection," 1872, Sixth Edition, Senate: London, 1994, p.422) 26/06/2006 "As geology plainly proclaims that each land has undergone great physical changes, we might have expected to find that organic beings have varied under nature, in the same way as they have varied under domestication. And if there has been any variability under nature, it would be an unaccountable fact if natural selection had not come into play." (Darwin, C.R., "The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection," 1872, Sixth Edition, Senate: London, 1994, pp.411-412) 26/06/2006 "The force of Darwin's argument for the importance of natural selection stemmed from his analogy to artificial selection in domesticated plants and animals. The analogy, however breaks down on two counts. First, in artificial selection, there is a preconceived desired goal. A particular trait is designated for increase or decrease. This is true selection. In natural populations, this is not so. ... There is no selector. No desired goal or sense of progress is possible. Natural selection operates on random mutations that do not anticipate a determined end result. Many have assigned a more powerful ability to natural selection than to artificial selection. This appears entirely out of order and unrealistic. Second, as in the case of mutations and gene duplication, all the examples of artificial selection can be interpreted as demonstrating the opposite of the point to be made. Rather than showing that limitless change is possible, the overriding observation is that there are limits to change. Many varieties of chickens have been produced from the wild jungle fowl. But breeders have been unable to create any new varieties because all the genes in the wild jungle fowl have been sorted out into the existing varieties- there is strictly limited variation. Beginning in 1800, plant breeders sought to increase the sugar content of the sugar beet. They were successful. After seventy-five years of selective breeding, they were able to increase the sugar content from 6 percent to 17 percent. But no further progress could be made. ... Egg production was sharply increased but eventually leveled off. Oil and protein production in corn showing extensive variation because of the probable involvement of many genes never reached a limit. However, it seems that a limit would have been reached if the experiment had continued: the amount of change per generation was definitely leveling off. A rule that all breeders recognize, is that there are fixed limits to the amount of change that can be produced. It is of course unequivocal that there is extensive variation in nature ... However, chickens- don't produce cylindrical eggs. We can't produce a plum the size of a pea or a grapefruit. There are limits to how far we can go. An alternate explanation is that mutations may possibly narrow or broaden the limits, but they never break them. Some people grow as tall as seven feet, and some grow no taller than three; but none are over twelve feet or under two. Artificial selection, then, is not the best analogy for natural selection. The two have little in common. Artificial selection demonstrates well the large amounts of genetic variation in nature, but it offers little in aiding our understanding of natural selection. This is particularly distressing as we attempt to understand nature's most perplexing questions, those concerning the extraordinary adaptations of living systems." (Lester, L.P.* & Bohlin, R.G.*, "The Natural Limits to Biological Change," Word Publishing: Dallas TX, Second Edition, 1989, pp.95-96) 26/06/2006 "The slow, gradual process of Neo-Darwinism requires that all adaptations be built up gradually with intermediate stages that are useful to the organism. This becomes taxing to the imagination when we consider some of the remarkable adaptations ... Take the woodpecker, for example. How did its remarkable tongue begin its odyssey around the back of the head? How did its tongue make its initial break out of the throat cavity? What prompted woodpeckers to begin poking holes in dead trees? How did they know there were insects to be had in there in the first place? Similar questions could be asked about other adaptations in the woodpecker, such as the two-by-two toe structure and the shock-absorbing cartilage behind the beak. The question has always been, What good are these structures unless they are complete from the start? Stephen Gould asks the same question with a touch of humor: `But how can a series of reasonable intermediate forms be constructed? Of what value could the first tiny step toward an eye be to its possessor? The dung-mimicking insect is well protected, but can there be any edge in looking only 5 percent like a turd?' [Gould, S. J., ''Ever Since Darwin", Norton: New York, 1977 p.104]" (Lester, L.P.* & Bohlin, R.G.*, "The Natural Limits to Biological Change," Word Publishing: Dallas TX, Second Edition, 1989, pp.96-97) 26/06/2006 "Complex adaptations have always provided the most rigorous test of Darwin's theory of natural selection. Every naturalist has his own favorite. Darwin's was the eye. Much has been made of Darwin's befuddlement over the eye. His exasperation is expressed in Origin of Species and in several letters to colleagues. It certainly seems unreasonable to propose that the eye developed slowly by chance mistakes to its present complexity of nerves, cones, rods, lens, pupil, retina, etc. If the eye is not capable of providing a picture that successfully aids in survival, of what good is it? If all the parts are not in sufficient working order, it is of no use to the organism. The more we learn of the eye, the more we appreciate Darwin's fear. Darwin's only suggestion, which remains today, is to observe the many types of eyes found in lower creatures, from the light-sensitive structures on some single-celled organisms to the compound eye of insects, to the focusing, color-receiving human eye. This is satisfactory to most Neo-Darwinians, but does it actually solve the problem? All that this technically demonstrates is that there are various organisms that possess light sensitivity in nature. Each contains its own complexities and unique properties. No true historical series has ever been proposed for the evolution of the human eye." (Lester, L.P.* & Bohlin, R.G.*, "The Natural Limits to Biological Change," Word Publishing: Dallas TX, Second Edition, 1989, pp.97-98. Emphasis original) 27/06/2006 "It is for zoologists to consider in detail the position of Owen in regard to evolutionary theory. On the botanical side of biology we are greatly mistaken if we think that a scientist of the calibre of Joseph Hooker was a fool not to recognize and accept evolution as an explanation of so many of his problems long before he did. It is not entirely wild to say even today that to accept a general theory of evolution by mutations with natural selection (a more or less orthodox position in 1962) requires as much faith as to accept some theory of special creation. There are still innumerable problems concerning the course of evolution, of how and when changes occurred in this and that group of plants (and, one supposes, of animals), that remain unsolved, and proposed solutions are sometimes absurd. Darwin was right, one would conclude after reviewing the history of evolutionary theories, not to publish his theory until he had accumulated masses of data in favour of it from as many sources and points of view as possible." (Turrill, W.B., "Joseph Dalton Hooker: Botanist, Explorer, and Administrator," Thomas Nelson & Sons: London, 1963, p.91) 27/06/2006 "Selection is not a difficult idea, as Darwin expressed it. More animals of every kind are born than can survive, because any given species has, in its habitat, a natural, balanced density of population, controlled largely by the food supply but also by various other things, such as the actuarial prospect of getting eaten itself. But reproduction rates run high and create a surplus in the species. Therefore, only a fraction of each generation comes to maturity, and this fraction will be composed of the individuals who are best endowed, best fitted in every way to the part of the world in which they live in, in all its aspects, climatic or animal. This is the famous `survival of the fittest,'', in the `struggle for existence,' which is not so much a struggle between fox and rabbit as between rabbit and rabbit. This surviving fraction, obviously, becomes the parents of the next generation, so that selection is the tendency for each succeeding generation to be ever better `adapted,' or developed, in the ways most useful to the species; and so the complexion of the species gradually changes, and Eohippus, for example, becomes a horse. Now here is the point on which Darwin's theory differed from others. The change comes about not because of anything that happens to the fraction which survives-let us say one-tenth - but because of what happens to the other nine tenths. They are selected for oblivion, and eliminated. Selection, then, simply alters, very slightly, the, heritage of a stock by pruning and pruning again. It can be said right away that this view of Darwin's is out of date. Evolution is not so simple as that, and natural selection, which once bore all before it, is no longer accepted by naturalists generally as the only key, or even the main one. The naturalists are, in fact, still pretty much in the dark. A subdued chain is clanked now and again by the ghost of Lamarck who, preceding Darwin, thought that effects produced by environment or by use and disuse on living animals could be bred; as the generations progressed; into their offspring giving rise to evolution in this way." (Howells, W.W., "Mankind So Far," Doubleday, Doran & Co: Garden City NY, 1946, pp.6,8) 27/06/2006 "When outsiders question whether the theory of evolution is as secure as we have been led to believe, we are firmly told that such questions are out of order. The arguments among the experts are said to be about matters of detail, such as the precise timescale and mechanism of evolutionary transformations. These disagreements are signs not of crisis but of healthy creative ferment within the field, and in any case there is no room for doubt whatever about something called the `fact' of evolution. But consider Colin Patterson's point that a fact of evolution is vacuous unless it comes with a supporting theory. Absent an explanation of how fundamental transformations can occur, the bare statement that `humans evolved from fish' is not impressive. What makes the fish story impressive, and credible, is that scientists think they know how a fish can be changed into a human without miraculous intervention. Charles Darwin made evolution a scientific concept by showing, or claiming to have shown, that major transformations could occur in very small steps by purely natural means, so that time, chance, and differential survival could take the place of a miracle. ... Disagreements about the mechanism of evolution are therefore of fundamental importance to those of us who want to know whether the scientists really know as much as they have been claiming to know. An adequate theory of how evolution works is particularly indispensable when evolution is deemed to imply, as countless Darwinists have insisted, that purposeless material mechanisms are responsible for our existence. `Evolution' in the sense in which, these scientists use the term as a mechanistic process, and so the content of any `fact' that is left when the mechanism is subtracted is thoroughly obscure." (Johnson, P.E., "Darwin on Trial,"  InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, Second Edition, 1993, pp.11-12) 27/06/2006 "LIKE language, art is uniquely human. But art was being placed on the walls of caves and rock shelters long before languages were written down. The prehistory of art provides a unique route to the study of ancient thought. The Upper Palaeolithic rock art of Western Europe, which originated about 30 000 years ago and gave rise to the beautiful compositions of France's Lascaux and Spain's Altamira, is well known Yet the notion that the human capacity for art dawned in the Dordogne or Cantabria, and culminated in the European Renaissance, is far from true. The Upper Palaeolithic rock art tradition of Western Europe disappeared with the end of the last Ice Age. The rock art of Arnhem Land in Australia is not only as old, it is aesthetically as rewarding More remarkably, accomplished rock artists have died within living memory and the tradition continues today through the medium of bark paintings. ... Does this art really span 50 000 years? Dating of sediments in one painted rock shelter shows it was first occupied 50 000 years ago. Red ochre is found in the earliest levels. Chaloupka has no doubt it was used as a pigment, but ochre has other uses. Alawa people I have worked with in the Gulf Country of northern Australia told me that dishes of wild plums were preserved by packing the fruit between pieces of ochre. Australian rock paintings do not survive burial in habitation debris and the technique of directly dating the organic remnants in pigment is only now being tested in Arnhem Land. Evidence of the art's antiquity is offered by the depiction of extinct animals, among them an echidna perhaps belonging to a species that became extinct 15 000 or 25 000 years ago." (Layton, R., "Arnhem Land's Aboriginal Art galleries." Review of "Journey in Time," George Chaloupka, New Scientist, 29 October 1994, p.63) 27/06/2006 "The main evidence on which Eiseley bases his case of Blyth as a precursor to Darwin concerns three articles published 1835-7 in the Magazine of Natural History. From these papers it appears that Blyth was aware of the struggle for existence, and also of the selection which may occur as a result. These were not very original thoughts on his part, for he had read Lawrence, Prichard and Lyell, as is made clear by his quoting them. ... Blyth thus realised that in artificial selection it is possible, through inbreeding, to bring forth various kinds of deviating form. Discussing the conditions in nature Blyth wrote: 'It is worthy of remark, however, that the original and typical form of an animal is in great measure kept up by the same identical means by which a true breed is produced. The original form of a species is unquestionably better adapted to its natural habits than any modification of that form.' Thus, as animals in nature are already adapted to their conditions, selection can do nothing but eliminate those harmful deviations which may survive only under domestication. Blyth was also quite outspoken on sexual selection ... In 1837 Blyth went a step further and asked whether the results achieved by the breeders might not, after all, occur in nature ... Here again we see the idea that wild organisms represent the optimal adaptation, deviations can only be disadvantageous, and therefore are removed through selection. Blyth evidently never came upon the notion later envisaged by Darwin, namely, that if the environment changes, and changes slowly, the organisms may follow suit and thus preserve their adaptation. It thus appears from his articles, and also from his later correspondence with Darwin, that Blyth did not believe in evolution. Yet, he was familiar with the phenomena of `struggle for existence', `sexual selection' and `natural selection', even if he did not use the last two expressions. In these respects Blyth was certainly a precursor to Darwin. Why was this never acknowledged by Darwin? Could the omission be because Darwin had not read Blyth's articles? Considering the voracity with which he read books and periodicals in the search for evidence supporting his theory, this suggestion is utterly improbable. Indeed, Eiseley has unearthed several facts indicating that he was acquainted with the papers in question; and on this point he was right, for Darwin refers to the article from 1837 in his notebooks. [de Beer, G.R., ed., "Darwin's Notebooks on Transmutation of Species," Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Historical Series, 2, 1960, pp.23-183, p.180]." Løvtrup, S., "Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth," Croom Helm: London, 1987, pp.28-30) 28/06/2006 "But assuming, as most atheists do, that in an atheistic world death is the end of any human's existence, there will at best be only a finite number of benefits, or moments of benefit, to be derived from the wager against God, and this is significant. For when we consider the benefits to be derived from the Christian wager if it turns out to be right, we find something very different. The promise of eternal life, everlasting blissful communion with God and with those other fellow creatures who love God, is at the heart of the Christian faith. If Christianity turns out to be true, then anyone who has sincerely lived in a Christian way, relating himself to God as the Christian faith instructs, will find that he has been issued into a qualitatively superior form of life, consonant with the deepest truths about ultimate reality, a form of life that will be enjoyed, literally, forever. If the Christian wager proves to be right, will the Christian enjoy the experience of satisfaction to be derived from finding out decisively that he is right? Even such staunch critics as Norwood Russell Hanson seem to acknowledge that the answer is `Yes.' A range of experiences can easily be imagined that would preclude any reasonable doubts about what the outcome is if the Christian God does exist. So the Christian can have the satisfaction of finding that he was right. Moreover, if he loses the bet over whether there is a God, he will not be forced to face his error. For if there is no God and no existence beyond the moment of death, he can never have an experience beyond death that will disappoint. And if we were right in what we said about the atheist's inability on either side of the grave to enjoy an experience of finding out decisively that he is right, the same points will apply to the religious wagerer's finding out that he himself has been wrong. The disappointment of a decisive disproof is not to be dreaded. For the religious wager, it cannot materialize." (Morris, T.V., "Making Sense of It All: Pascal and the Meaning of Life," Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, 1992, p.120. Emphasis original) 28/06/2006 "Here we have an interesting asymmetry, an interesting difference, between the two wagers. In fact we may even have a symmetrical asymmetry. The Christian wagerer can experience the profound satisfaction of discovering for sure that he was right, and he cannot experience the terrible disappointment of finding out for certain that he was wrong. The atheist, on the contrary, cannot experience any satisfaction from a discovery that he was right, and, moreover, can, according to the claims of the alternative, Christian theology, experience the terrible regret of discovering that he was wrong - that he lived his life in ignorance and disregard of the deepest truths of reality. Christian theology speaks of judgment, and it speaks of worse. Whatever is meant, it is plausible to suppose that it includes at least this sort of realization. So, in an important sense, we can say that for atheism there is a final no-satisfaction guarantee, whereas for theism, there is a final no-dissatisfaction guarantee. ... Even if we are unable to quantify more precisely the various factors to be considered in this wager, we can see what the outcome will be. Atheism brings with it, at best, only a finite expectation, whereas Christian theism carries with it an infinite Expected Value. No disparity could possibly be greater. Therefore, says Pascal, a rational gambler will bet on God." (Morris, T.V., "Making Sense of It All: Pascal and the Meaning of Life," Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, 1992, p.121. Emphasis original) 29/06/2006 "Assuming away the difficult points is one way to solve an intractable problem; another is to send the problem off into space. That was the strategy of one of the world's most famous scientists, Francis Crick, codiscoverer of the structure of DNA. Crick is thoroughly aware of the awesome complexity of cellular life and the extreme difficulty of explaining how such life could have evolved in the time available on earth. So he speculated that conditions might have been more favorable on some distant planet. That move leaves the problem of getting life from the planet of origin to earth. First in a paper with Leslie Orgel [Crick, F.H.C. & Orgel, L.E., "Directed Panspermia," Icarus, Vol. 19, 1973, pp.341-346], and then in a book of his own [Crick, F.H.C., "Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, 1981], Crick advanced a theory he called `directed panspermia.' The basic idea is that an advanced extraterrestrial civilization, possibly facing extinction, sent primitive life forms to earth in a spaceship. The spaceship builders couldn't come themselves because of the enormous time required for interstellar travel; so they sent bacteria capable of surviving the voyage and the severe conditions that would have greeted them upon arrival on the early earth. What kind of scientific evidence supports directed panspermia? Crick wrote that if the theory is true, we should expect that cellular microorganisms would appear suddenly, without evidence that any simpler forms preceded them. We should also expect to find that the early forms were distantly related but highly distinct, with no evidence of ancestors because these existed only on the original planet. This expectation fits the facts perfectly, because the archaebacteria and eubacteria are at the same time too different to have evolved from a common ancestor in the time available, and yet also too similar (sharing the same genetic language) not to have a common source somewhere. Those who are tempted to ridicule directed panspermia should restrain themselves, because Crick's extraterrestrials are no more invisible than the universe of ancestors that earth-bound Darwinists have to invoke. Crick would be scornful of any scientist who gave up on scientific research and ascribed the origin of life to a supernatural Creator. But directed panspermia amounts to the same thing. The same limitations that made it impossible for the extraterrestrials to journey to earth will make it impossible for scientists ever to inspect their planet. Scientific investigation of the origin of life is as effectively closed off as if God had reserved the subject for Himself." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Darwin on Trial," , InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, Second Edition, 1993, pp.110-111)
- Feathers to form a wing and maintain a stable body temperature.
- A modified clavicle the furcula (or wishbone) to anchor the large flight muscles and stabilise the shoulder joint.
- A bony, keeled sternum (or breastbone), also for anchoring flight muscles.
- A hand reduced to three fused fingers: a small first finger forming a small alula (or bastard wing); a large second finger; and a small third finger.
- A pygostyle (or ploughshare bone) made of between four and seven fused tail vertebrae to support the tail feathers.
- A shoulder joint that enables the chest muscles to flip the wings into a near-vertical position above the back, to begin the downstroke.
- A folding forelimb to tuck the feathered forearm against the body for safety and insulation.
- A highly efficient respiratory system (to fuel the endothermic metabolism provides the energy for flight) in which the bronchi and air sacs create a continuous, unidirectional airflow through the lungs, enhancing oxygen and carbon dioxide exchanger."
* 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: 30 March, 2006. Updated: 10 April, 2010.