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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 pre sent 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 strung 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 omiscuous 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 elist 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 posed
- 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."