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The following are quotes added to my Unclassified Quotes database in August 2006. The date format is dd/mm/yy. See copyright conditions at end.
[Index: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec]
1/08/2006 "The assertion that natural Selection was not true, or rather would not work came from several sources. It came most cogently from one Fleeming, Jenkin, professor of engineering at Edinburgh University. In 1867 Jenkin pointed out that if all hereditary differences blended on crossing, as Darwin assumed, then any variation that arose would diminish in importance in each succeeding generation and no new variation could persist long enough to be selected by the process that Darwin proposed. ... Accordingly in succeeding editions of the Origin of Species, he shifted his ground. He began to suggest that direct adaptation of the organism to its environment brought changes in heredity, and that this direct action played a part, along with natural selection, in the transformation of species. This shift of ground was noticed by Darwin's critics. Darwin responded by calling their attention to something they had overlooked. In the first edition of the Origin of Species he had mentioned twice that the effects of the `external conditions of life'-both the direct effects of climate and food (and such indirect effects as the use and disuse of organs-were perhaps in some extremely small degree inherited. Change was partly directed before it took place as well as partly selected after it took place. In other words, Darwin had prepared a line of retreat against the possibility that natural selection might be found untenable. He now prudently took this line. As time went on Darwin relied more and more on a double or mixed theory of evolution: selection plus direction." (Darlington, C.D., "The Origin of Darwinism," Scientific American, Vol. 201, May 1959, pp.60-66, p.60) 1/08/2006 "Darwin's finches are a classic example of species diversification by natural selection. Their impressive variation in beak morphology is associated with the exploitation of a variety of ecological niches, but its developmental basis is unknown. We performed a comparative analysis of expression patterns of various growth factors in species comprising the genus Geospiza. We found that expression of Bmp4 in the mesenchyme of the upper beaks strongly correlated with deep and broad beak morphology. When misexpressed in chicken embryos, Bmp4 caused morphological transformations paralleling the beak morphology of the large ground finch G. magnirostris." (Abzhanov, A., Protas, M., Grant, B.R., Grant, P.R. & Tabin, C.J., "Bmp4 and Morphological Variation of Beaks in Darwin's Finches," Science, Vol. 305, 3 September 2004, pp. 1462-1465) 1/08/2006 "For the past 25 years, a cadre of evodevotees has been struggling to unify the fields of evolution and development. A rece nt paper published in the journal Science by Abzahnov et al (2004) reports on the role of the growth factor Bmp4 during the evolution in the beak morphology of Darwin's finches on the Galápagos Islands. These data show that evolutionary changes to the developmental program of large- versus small-beaked species of Darwin's finch arise from shifts in the heterochronic - timing of ontogenetic events - and heterotopic - spatial expression of ontogenetic events - expression of Bmp4.Stephen J Gould (1977) popularized the term heterochrony, which now serves as a mantra chanted at evodevo journal clubs around the globe. If Gould were alive today, he would undoubtedly be raving about the latest evodevo findings on Bmp4. ... Intriguingly, Abzahnov et al (2004) show that heterochronic manipulations of Bmp4 expression during chick development can reproduce the comparative patterns observed among Darwin's finches ... Such heterochronic shifts yield a chick embryo that develops into the large-beaked morphology characteristic of the aptly named Geospiza magnirostris, which likewise expresses Bmp4 earlier in mesenchymal cells than any of the other members of the ground finch genus. .... Such heterochronic and heterotopic expression of Bmp4 provide a parsimonious way to achieve both the svelte-beaked form of the most ancestral of the ground finch (Geospiza) group of Darwin's finches, G. difficilis, as well as the robust-beaked form of G. magnirostris. Abzahnov et al (2004) further confirmed that the changes in beak morphology among Darwin's finches were not associated with two of the regulators of Bmp4, sonic hedgehog (Shh) and fibroblast growth factor 8 (Fgf8). The junction where expression of these two regulatory genes meet on the developing cranium has been shown to drive the out-pocketing of cells that eventually develops into beak and to also induce expression of Bmp4 (Abzahnov and Tabin, 2004). Even though Shh and Fgf8 interact to control the proper location of Bmp4 expression on the cranium and thus beak morphology, variation in Shh and Fgf8 were not correlated with differences between large- and small-beaked species of Darwin's finches. The authors did find that a mesenchymal injection of a viral construct with the gene Noggin, which antagonizes Bmp4 signaling, dramatically reduced the size of the upper beak of the chick. This result does not rule out potential epistatic interactions of other regulatory genes, but it does narrow the search to those that specifically affect Bmp4 gene expression. These findings elucidate the developmental origin of an adaptive radiation that serves as the textbook example of evolution. ... The achievement of an evodevo synthesis in a classic example of evolution like Darwin's finches is dramatic. It quickens the blood and warms the hearts of evodevotees, myself included. The insights on development and evolution associated with Bmp4 are tantalizingly. They bring us closer to smashing the conceptual iron curtain that has been erected in recent years between the fields of evolution and molecular developmental biology..... Even though natural selection on Darwin's finches is still intense (Grant and Grant, 2002), most of the evolved changes in the regulation of Bmp4 have occurred in the remote past when each member of the ground finch genus first evolved, and thus are inaccessible to us in the present day. One more step that remains to be demonstrated is the role of natural selection in specifically shaping Bmp4 or its gene regulators. Perhaps, the answer to this question lies in the elucidation of Bmp4 expression in a species that simultaneously exhibits both small-, large-, and mega-beaked forms such as the African seedcracker, Pyrenestes ostrinus (Smith, 1993,1997). In African seedcrackers, the small-, large- and mega-billed forms arise from a simple Mendelian factor (Smith, 1993), and the implication is that such Mendelian variation should be due to Bmp4 expression. Whether such within-species polymorphism contributed to the morphological radiation of Darwin's finches in the remote past remains unclear. However, such intraspecies polymorphisms will become very useful in our search for the link between proximate causes of development and ultimate causes of natural selection. Thus, elucidating the heterochrony and heterotopy involved in intraspecies polymorphisms should be the next step, since the action of natural selection in shaping beak shape and perhaps the modifiers and regulators of Bmp4 is ongoing (Smith, 1993). The findings on Darwin's finches are likely to be general for vertebrates. Selection on Bmp4 has been demonstrated in African cichlids (Terai et al, 2002; Albertson et al, 2003), another spectacular adaptive radiation of vertebrates." (Sinervo, B., "Evodevo: Darwin's finch beaks, Bmp4, and the developmental origins of novelty," Heredity, Vol. 94, 10 November 2004, pp.141-142) 2/08/2006 "These findings elucidate the developmental origin of an adaptive radiation that serves as the textbook example of evolution. More importantly, it brings us one step closer to understanding how morphological diversity can be achieved with a minimum amount of informational change. The fact that the same growth factor, when applied to mesenchyme versus ectoderm, can achieve completely opposite morphologies provides us with a partial answer to the paradox of the genome. How can the complex morphology of a human require only the coordinated expression of 30 000 genes? The combination of heterochronic and heterotopic changes in the regulation of single genes provides an infinite set of topological shifts to evolve a limitless set of morphological diversity." (Sinervo, B., Evodevo: Darwin's finch beaks, Bmp4, and the developmental origins of novelty," Heredity, Vol. 94, 10 November 2004, pp.141-142) 2/08/2006 "The Origin of Species is still freely abused and often misrepresented, just as it was when Darwin was alive. In his final edition, here reprinted, he entered a mild protest-a luxury he rarely indulged in-against a misrepresentation to which his theory was persistently subjected. `But as my conclusions have lately been much misrepresented,' he wrote, `and it has been stated that I attribute the modification of species exclusively to natural selection, I may be permitted to remark, that in the first edition of this work, and subsequently, I placed in a most conspicuous position-namely, at the close of the Introduction-the following words: I am convinced that natural selection has been the main, but not the exclusive means of modification. This has been of no avail. Great is the power of steady misrepresentation, but the history of science shows that fortunately this power does not long endure.'" (Keith, A., "Introduction," to Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," Sixth Edition, 1872, Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 1928, reprint, p.xv. Emphasis original) 2/08/2006 "The power of error to persist is more enduring than Darwin thought; the misrepresentation of which he complained is being made now more blatantly than ever before. It is being proclaimed from the housetops that The Origin of Species contained only one new idea, and that this idea, the conception of natural selection, is false. Natural selection, some of his modern critics declare, is powerless to produce new forms of either plant or animal: Darwin never said it could. In this book the reader will find him giving warning after warning that by itself selection can do nothing. To effect an evolutionary change two sets of factors, he declared, must be at work together-those which bring about variations or modifications in animal or in plant and those which favour and select the individuals which vary or become modified in a certain direction. Why should so many critics continue to misunderstand the essentials of Darwin's theory of evolution? Men do not wilfully persist in misrepresentation; there must be some explanation of their error. The truth is that Darwin himself was at fault; the full title he gave to his book was The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection . Plainly such a title was a misnomer, this book was and is much more than such a title implies; it was much more than a mere demonstration of the action of natural selection, it was the first complete demonstration that the law of evolution holds true for every form of living thing. It was this book which first convinced the world of thoughtful men and women that the law of evolution is true." (Keith, A., "Introduction," to Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," Sixth Edition, 1872, Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 1928, reprint, pp.xv-xvi. Emphasis original) 2/08/2006 "Long before Darwin's time men had proclaimed the doctrine of evolution, but they failed to convince their fellows of its truth, both because their evidence was insufficient and because they had to leave so much that was unexplained. Darwin, on the other hand, brought forward such an immense array of facts in this book and set them in such a logical sequence that his argument proved irresistible. He never resorted to any kind of special pleading, but permitted facts to speak for themselves. However longingly his readers clung to age-long beliefs, Darwin compelled them to face facts and draw conclusions, often at enmity with their predilections. We all desire to be intellectually honest, and sooner or later truth wins. It was this book which won a victory for evolution, so far as that victory has now been won. When it appeared in the nineteenth century the Why and the How of evolution were immaterial issues. What had to be done then was to convince men that evolution represented a mode of thinking worthy of acceptation and in that The Origin of Species succeeded beyond all expectation. Nor has it finished its appointed mission. No book has yet appeared that can replace it; The Origin of Species is still the book which contains the most complete demonstration that the law of evolution is true." (Keith, A., "Introduction," to Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," Sixth Edition, 1872, Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 1928, reprint, p.xvi) 2/08/2006 "This, then, is Darwin's essential service to the world-not that he discovered the law of Natural Selection- but that he succeeded in effecting a complete revolution in the outlook of mankind on all living things. He wrought this revolution through this book. Darwin himself formed a true estimate of what the nature of this revolution was. In the last paragraph of his Introduction, printed here on page 20, readers will find a statement of what he claimed to have done. `Although much remains obscure,' he writes, `and will long remain obscure, I can entertain no doubt, after the most deliberate study and dispassionate judgment of which I am capable, that the view which most naturalists until recently entertained, and which I formerly entertained-namely, that each species has been independently created-is erroneous. I am firmly convinced that species aye not immutable.' From this statement we see that Darwin's aim was to replace a belief in special creation by a belief in evolution and in this he did succeed, as every modern biologist will readily admit." (Keith, A., "Introduction," to Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," Sixth Edition, 1872, Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 1928, reprint, pp.xvi-xvii. Emphasis original) 2/08/2006 "No one was in a better position to measure what Darwin succeeded in doing than his magnanimous contemporary and ally Alfred Russel Wallace. Writing to Professor Newton of Cambridge in 1887, five years after Darwin's death, he penned the following passage: `I had the idea of working it out [the theory of natural selection], so far as I was able, when I returned home, not at all expecting that Darwin had so long anticipated me. I can truly say now, as I said many years ago, that I am glad it was so, for I have not the love of work, experiment and detail that was so preeminent in Darwin and without which anything I could have written would never have convinced the world.' Darwin succeeded in convincing the world not only by his superabundance of proof but by the transparently honest way in which he presented his case. No one can read The Origin of Species without feeling that Darwin had the interests of only one party at heart-his client, Truth." (Keith, A., "Introduction," to Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," Sixth Edition, 1872, Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 1928, reprint, p.xvii. Emphasis original) 2/08/2006 "Darwin succeeded in convincing scientific men that the law of evolution is true of all living things and yet the manner in which evolution takes place-the machinery of evolution, described in this book-may be totally wrong. If this were really so, The Origin of Species would be altogether out of date. Some critics have insinuated as much.-But was Darwin wrong in his conception of the mode of evolution? Let us look into this. Suppose, for a moment, that an omniscient biologist, greatly daring, were to re-edit this classic--would he find much that needs alteration? Scarcely a single fact would have to be withdrawn; so accurate was Darwin in making his own observations and so careful was he in the selection of his authorities, that the modern reader may accept all his statements of fact without question. But what of his `mode' or method of evolution? The machinery involved-is it out of date? My deliberate opinion is that the machinery of evolution described in this book is not out of date and never will be. Darwin perceived that two factors are concerned in evolution-one is `productive,' the other is `selective.' The productive factor gives rise to the materials of evolution-the points or characters wherein one individual differs from another-whether that individual be a plant or a human being. Such differences Darwin names `variations.' How are such variations produced? In every chapter of this book the reader will find Darwin declaring that he does not know; the only point of which he felt certain was that individual differences do not arise by chance." (Keith, A., "Introduction," to Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," Sixth Edition, 1872, Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 1928, reprint, p.xvii) 2/08/2006 "Though he has often been regarded as an obscure writer, Darwin usually expresses himself clearly enough. He was not interested in philosophical considerations or in the exact definition of the terms he used. In the final chapter of the first edition of Origin, where he recapitulates his arguments the word evolution is not even mentioned; yet the proposition he is defending can easily be defined. This is, that all the organisms that exist or have existed have developed from a few extremely simple forms or from one alone, by a process of descent with modification. The mechanism of these transformations though infinitely complex in its detailed working, is very simple in principle. For reasons not fully understood organisms tend to vary slightly in their various characteristics These variations must be called random in the sense that they have no predestined relation to the well-being of the organism. Nevertheless since they occur continually in many directions an individual in which a particular variation has occurred will have a slight advantage over its competitors in a particular environment. The advantage will be transmitted to its progeny in which, owing to variation, it will be manifested in different degrees, and thus there will occur through successive generations, a progressive adaptation to the environment from which the inadequately equipped competitors will disappear either through extinction or by adaptation to a different environment. We must, says Darwin, admit the truth of the following propositions: 'that gradations in the perfection of any organ or instinct, which we may consider, either do now exist or could have existed, each good of its kind-that all organs and instincts are, in ever so slight a degree, variable-and, lastly, that there is a struggle for existence leading to the preservation of each profitable deviation of structure or instinct.' These truths being admitted, the theory of descent with modification through natural selection, must be accepted. This explanation has universal value. It enables us to understand that every mental power and capacity has been a gradual but necessary acquirement and thus the origin and history of man become scientifically comprehensible. And as the past has been, so will the future. We may look with some confidence, says Darwin, ' to a secure future of equally inappreciable length. And as natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection.' The view that natural selection, leading to the survival of the fittest, in populations of individuals of varying characteristics and competing among themselves, has produced in the course of geological time gradual transformations leading from a simple primitive organism to the highest forms of life, without the intervention of any directive agency or force, is thus the essence of the Darwinian position. Purposeless and undirected evolution, says J.S. Huxley, eventually produced, in man, a being capable of purpose and of directing evolutionary change. This, it appears to me, remains the view of the most representative modern Darwinians. It is true that Darwin himself admitted a Lamarckian element, the effects of use and disuse, and Sir Arthur Keith defended him against those who accused him of relying exclusively on natural selection. But this, in the modern view, would be a virtue of Darwin's theory since the inheritance of acquired characters is now generally denied by biologists." (Thompson, W.R., "Introduction," in Darwin, C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," Sixth Edition, 1872, Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 1967, reprint, pp.viii-ix) 2/08/2006 "I have tried to include in a necessarily brief summary the most important points in Darwin's argument and have not designedly attempted to weaken the presentation. If Darwin convinced the world that species had originated through evolution by natural selection, it was, I think, on the basis of the arguments I have mentioned. But in a matter of this kind a great deal depends on the manner in which arguments are presented. Darwin considered that the doctrine of the Origin of living forms by descent with modification, even if well founded, would be unsatisfactory unless the causes at work were correctly identified, so his theory of modification by natural selection was, for him, of absolutely major importance. Since he had at the time the Origin was published no body of experimental evidence to support his theory, he fell back on speculative arguments. The argumentation used by evolutionists, said de Quatrefages, makes the discussion of their ideas extremely difficult. Personal convictions, simple possibilities, are presented as if they were proofs, or at least valid arguments in favour of the theory. As an example de Quatrefages cited Darwin's explanation of the manner in which the titmouse might become transformed into the nutcracker, by the accumulation of small changes in structure and instinct owing to the effect of natural selection; and then proceeded to show that it is just as easy to transform the nutcracker into the titmouse. The demonstration can be modified without difficulty to fit any conceivable case. It is without scientific value, since it cannot be verified; but since the imagination has free rein, it is easy to convey the impression that a concrete example of real transmutation has been given. This is the more appealing because of the extreme fundamental simplicity of the Darwinian explanation. The reader may be completely ignorant of biological processes yet he feels that he really understands and in a sense dominates the machinery by which the marvellous variety of living forms has been produced. This was certainly a major reason for the success of the Origin. Another is the elusive character of the Darwinian argument. Every characteristic of organisms is maintained in existence because it has survival value. But this value relates to the struggle for existence. Therefore we are not obliged to commit ourselves in regard to the meaning of differences between individuals or species since the possessor of a particular modification may be, in the race for life, moving up or falling behind. On the other hand, we can commit ourselves if we like, since it is impossible to disprove our statement. The plausibility of the argument eliminates the need for proof and its very nature gives it a kind of immunity to disproof. Darwin did not show in the Origin that species had Originated by natural selection; he merely showed, on the basis of certain facts and assumptions, how this might have happened, and as he had convinced himself he was able to convince others." (Thompson, W.R.*, "Introduction," in Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," Sixth Edition, 1872, Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 1967, reprint, p.xi) 2/08/2006 "No one who views mankind with unprejudiced eyes can say that Darwin's law of selection is out of date. There is competition and struggle throughout the whole of Nature's realm. Nor do I think it can ever pass out of date in any form of human society unless man deliberately resolves to give up the struggle of life. As to what will happen in such a case the law of evolution leaves us in no doubt. The species which gives up the struggle becomes extinct. The revolution in outlook, effected by this book, was not confined to men who study the history of animals and of plants. Its conquest gradually spread until every department of knowledge was affected. No matter what a man's line of study might be-the stars, the earth, the elements, industry, economics, civilisation, theology or man himself-the inquirer soon began to realise that he must take the law of evolution as his guide. It was Darwin, through this book, who changed the outlook of all gatherers of knowledge and made them realise that behind the field of their immediate inquiry lay an immense evolutionary or historical background which had to be explored before further progress was possible. Nay, it was Darwin who made men see that evolution is now everywhere at work--in all things material, moral and spiritual, and will continue in operation, so far as the human mind can anticipate, to the very end of time." (Keith, A., "Introduction," to Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," Sixth Edition, 1872, Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 1928, reprint, pp.xviii-xix) 2/08/2006 "A few months ago I had the daring to place Darwin in that small select group of great Englishmen which holds Shakespeare. My judgment was denounced as madly biased by men accustomed to adjudicate on literary reputations. When, however, we see how profoundly Darwin has altered and is altering the outlook of mankind, lifting from it, more than any man has ever done, the pall of superstition, my estimate of his greatness and of his universality will be seen to be nearer the truth than is now acknowledged. I know very well that Darwin's doctrine so far has reached only the intellectual stratum of mankind and has not yet percolated into the minds of the greater mass of humanity. Sooner or later Darwin's outlook will become universal, for men of all grades do desire to know the truth. Darwin's mission is not finished; this book has still many years to live and many converts to make." (Keith, A., "Introduction," to Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," Sixth Edition, 1872, Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 1928, reprint, p.xix) 3/08/2006 "Modern masters of science are much impressed with the need of beginning all inquiry with a fact. The ancient masters of religion were equally impressed with that necessity. They began with the fact of sin-a fact as practical as potatoes. Whether or no man could be washed in miraculous waters, there was no doubt at any rate that he wanted washing. But certain religious leaders in London, not mere materialists, have begun in our day not to deny the highly disputable water, but to deny the indisputable dirt. Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved. Some followers of the Reverend R.J. Campbell, in their almost too fastidious spirituality, admit divine sinlessness, which they cannot see even in their dreams. But they essentially deny human sin, which they can see in the street. The strongest saints and the strongest sceptics alike took positive evil as the starting- point of their argument. If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can only draw one of two deductions. He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and Man, as all Christians do. The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat. In this remarkable situation it is plainly not now possible (with any hope of a universal appeal) to start, as our fathers did, with the fact of sin. This very fact which was to them (and is to me) as plain as a pikestaff, is the very fact that has been specially diluted or denied." (Chesterton, G.K., "Orthodoxy," , Fontana: London, 1961, reprint, p.15) 3/08/2006 "The expanded insanity defense was endorsed by the leading experts and enacted in the federal system and many states. (In California, judges left the old insanity rule unchanged but introduced the new philosophy directly into the law of murder by saying that a defendant lacked `malice aforethought' if he couldn't control his conduct.) The new rules lasted just until they succeeded in generating outcomes the public recognized as crazy, including the insanity acquittal of John Hinckley--who shot President Reagan and his press secretary in hopes of attracting the notice of the movie star Jodie Foster. Of course, Hinckley's motivation really was loony, but he also knew the wrongfulness of what he was doing and chose to do it. Public opinion promptly forced a change back to the old rules, with additional measures designed to ensure that defendants acquitted for insanity would be confined just as securely as if they had been convicted. John Hinckley is still behind bars and going nowhere. What is particularly fascinating about the traditional insanity doctrine, called the M'Naghten Rule by lawyers, is that it is based straightforwardly on assumptions derived from biblical theism. Humans are seen as endowed with an innate understanding of the difference between moral right and wrong--meaning an absolute moral standard that is independent of legal rules. The law holds us responsible if we choose wrong instead of right, just as God does--and science does not. Criminal defendants are excused for insanity only if this innate capacity for moral understanding is so damaged that they are comparable to small children, who do not grasp what killing means even if they pick up a loaded pistol, point it at a playmate, and pull the trigger. (A California six-year-old was recently found incapable of committing attempted murder after he beat a baby almost to death. No one protested the decision.) Insanity in this restricted sense saves a killer from the death penalty, but it does not lead to freedom, because an adult who does not know right from wrong belongs in custody. Whatever scientific naturalists may say, criminal law has found it necessary to assume that humans are moral agents created in the image of God, with a divine gift of freedom and a knowledge of God's moral order written on our hearts. Even James Q. Wilson, who doesn't believe the premise, likes the conclusions that follow from that premise. When you are dealing with human beings, naturalism is a bust--especially as a methodology." (Johnson P.E., "Those Madcap Menendez Boys," Books & Culture Magazine, Nov/Dec 1997, Vol. 3, No. 6, p.12) 3/08/2006 "Once it is decided that we must wager; once it is decided that there are only two options, theism and atheism, not three, theism, atheism, and agnosticism; then the rest of the argument is simple. Atheism is a terrible bet. It gives you no chance of winning the red prize. Pascal states the argument this way: You have two things to lose: the true and the good; and two things to stake: your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to avoid: error and wretchedness. Since you must necessarily choose, your reason is no more affronted by choosing one rather than the other. That is one point cleared up. But your happiness? Let us weigh up the gain and the loss involved in calling heads that God exists. Let us assess the two cases: if you win, you win everything: if you lose, you lose nothing. Do not hesitate then: wager that he does exist. If God does not exist, it does not matter how you wager, for there is nothing to win after death and nothing to lose after death. But if God does exist, your only chance of winning eternal happiness is to believe, and your only chance of losing it is to refuse to believe. As Pascal says, `I should be much more afraid of being mistaken and then finding out that Christianity is true than of being mistaken in believing it to be true.' If you believe too much, you neither win nor lose eternal happiness. But if you believe too little, you risk losing everything." (Kreeft, P., "The Argument from Pascal's Wager." From Kreeft, P., "Fundamentals of the Faith: 3/08/2006 "It is therefore of immediate concern to both biologist and layman that Darwinism is under attack. The theory of life that undermined nineteenthcentury religion has virtually become a religion itself and in its turn is being threatened by fresh ideas. The attacks are certainly not limited to those of the creationists and religious fundamentalists who deny Darwinism for political and moral reasons. The main thrust of the criticism comes from within science itself. The doubts about Darwinism represent a potential revolt from within rather than a siege from without. What is even more surprising is that these doubts are arising simultaneously from several independent branches of science. With a growth in the appreciation of the philosophy of science-largely due to the influence of the philosopher Karl Popper-has come a doubt about whether Darwinism is, strictly speaking, scientific. Is the theory actually testable-as good theories must be? Is the idea of natural selection based on a tautology, a simple restatement of some initial assumptions? From within biology the doubts have come from scientists in half a dozen separate fields. Many palaeontologists are unconvinced by the supposed gradualness of Darwinian evolution; they feel that the evidence points to abrupt change-or else to no change at all. Some geneticists question Darwin's explanation for the 'origin of species', feeling that natural selection may have virtually nothing to do with the events that lead to the appearance of new species. Among other scientists, for example among immunologists, embryologists and taxonomists, the same feeling seems to be growing: there is a lot more to evolution than Charles Darwin envisaged, and even the modern synthesis of evolutionary ideas-called neoDarwinism ... seems inadequate in many respects. In some ways the attacks are nothing new; several of the debates now surfacing can be traced to Darwin himself, and even before. What is new is the climate that the debates are creating. Since the days of Darwin and his 'bulldog', T.H. Huxley, and especially since the confident synthesis that created neo- Darwinism in the 1940s, any attack on evolutionary theory has been treated rather like flat-earthism: evidence of mental aberration due to religious mania or political fanaticism. Such attacks were simply not taken seriously. This is no longer true. In the past ten years has emerged a new breed of biologists who are considered scientifically respectable, but who have their doubts about Darwinism." (Leith, B., "The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinism," Collins: London, 1982, pp.10-11) 3/08/2006 "The raising of the status of Darwinian theory to a self-evident axiom has had the consequence that the very real problems and objections with which Darwin so painfully laboured in the Origin have become entirely invisible. Crucial problems such as the absence of connecting links or the difficulty of envisaging intermediate forms are virtually never discussed and the creation of even the most complex of adaptations is put down to natural selection without a ripple of doubt. The overriding supremacy of the myth has created a widespread illusion that the theory of evolution was all but proved one hundred years ago and that all subsequent biological research - paleontological, zoological and in the newer branches of genetics and molecular biology has provided ever-increasing evidence for Darwinian ideas. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that the evidence was so patchy one hundred years ago that even Darwin himself had increasing doubts as to the validity of his views, and the only aspect of his theory which has received any support over the past century is where it applies to microevolutionary phenomena. His general theory, that all life on earth had originated and evolved by a gradual successive accumulation of fortuitous mutations, is still, as it was in Darwin's time, a highly speculative hypothesis entirely without direct factual support and very far from that self-evident axiom some of its more aggressive advocates would have us believe." (Denton, M.J., "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis," Burnett Books: London, 1985, p.78) 3/08/2006 "When country changes rapidly, we should expect most species. The difference [between] intellect of man and animals not so great as between living thing without thought (plants) and living thing with thought (animal). ... My theory very distinct from Lamarck's." (Darwin, C.R., "First Notebook (July 1837-February 1838)," in de Beer, G.R., ed., "Darwin's Notebooks on Transmutation of Species (1837-1839)," in Appleman, P., ed., "Darwin: A Norton Critical Edition," W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, First Edition, 1970, p.76) 3/08/2006 "If my theory true, we get 1st a horizontal history of earth within recent times, and many curious points of speculation; for having ascertained means of transport, we should then know whether former lands intervened. 2d) By character of any two ancient fauna, we may form some idea of connection of those two countries. Hence India, Mexico and Europe-one great sea. (Coral reefs .'. shallow water at Melville island). 3d) We know that structure of every organ in A.B.C., three species of one genus can pass into each other by steps we see; but this cannot be predicated of structures in two genera. Although D.E.F. follow close to A.B.C., we cannot be sure that structure (C) could pass into (D). We may foretell species, limits of good species being known. It explains the blending of two genera. It explains typical structure. Every species is due to adaptation hereditary structure; Latter far chief element. ... Little service habits in classification or rather for the fact that they are not far the most serviceable. We may speculate of durability of succession from what we have seen in old world and on amount changes which may happen. It leads you to believe the world older than geologists think; it agrees with excessive inequality of numbers of species in divisions, -look at articulata!!?" (Darwin, C.R., "First Notebook (July 1837-February 1838)," in de Beer, G.R., ed., "Darwin's Notebooks on Transmutation of Species (1837-1839)," in Appleman, P., ed., "Darwin: A Norton Critical Edition," W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, First Edition, 1970, p.77. Emphasis original) 3/08/2006 "With belief of transmutation and geographical grouping we are led to endeavour to discover causes of changes,-the manner of adaptation (wish of parents??), instinct and structure becomes full of speculation and line of observation. View of generation being condensation, test of highest organization intelligible. May look in first germ, led to comprehend true affinities. My theory would give zest to recent and fossil Comparative Anatomy; it would lead to study of instincts, heredity and mind heredity, whole [of] metaphysics. It would lead to closest examination of hybridity, to what circumstances favour crossing and what prevent it; and generation, causes of change in order to know what we have come from and I,, what we tend, this and direct examination of direct passagesof structure in species might lead to laws of change, which would then be [the] main object of study, to guide our speculations with respect to past and future." (Darwin, C.R., "First Notebook (July 1837-February 1838)," in de Beer, G.R., ed., "Darwin's Notebooks on Transmutation of Species (1837-1839)," in Appleman, P., ed., "Darwin: A Norton Critical Edition," W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, First Edition, 1970, p.78. Emphasis original) 3/08/2006 "I utterly deny the right to argue against my theory because it makes the world far older than what geologists think: it would be doing what others but fifty years since [did] to geologists,--& what is older- what relation in duration of planet to our lives. Being myself a geologist, I have thus argued to myself, till I can honestly reject such false reasoning." (Darwin, C.R., "Fourth Notebook (October, 1838-July 10, 1839)," in de Beer, G.R., ed., "Darwin's Notebooks on Transmutation of Species (1837-1839)," in Appleman, P., ed., "Darwin: A Norton Critical Edition," W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, First Edition, 1970, p.80. Emphasis original) 4/08/2006 "One unorthodox radiometric method addresses the question of whether the earth is young....To understand the method, first consider neptunium237, the first member of a natural radioactive decay sequence. We cannot, however, find neptunium-237 in minerals or any natural source. But we can synthesize it in nuclear reactors and measure its half-life. Those who claim the earth is very old maintain that we cannot find this isotope because its half-life, 2.2 million years, is too short. Thus, if it were present in the beginning, in 2.2 million years only half the initial amount would be present; in 4.4 million years, only one-fourth. Obviously, if the earth is several billion years old , we could not find neptunium-237 today; the 'missing' neptunium-237 could indicate the earth is very old. Of course, a person who claims the earth is but ten thousand years old would very likely maintain that neptunium-237 was not present at the time of creation. Fair enough. But a problem arises because neptunium-237 is not the only 'missing' isotope. Here is the critical piece of information: all 40 radioactive isotopes whose half-lives are between 1000 years and 50 million years are missing in nature; all 17 radioactive isotopes with halflives greater than 50 million years are present in nature. If the earth is several billion years old, then even for a 50-million year half life, many half lives have elapsed since the beginning: one would not expect to find now in nature a substance with a half-life of as much as 50 million years. But if the earth is young--say, 10,000 years old--all 57 (40 plus 17) isotopes would be present in nature now if they were present initially. Yet, since we know of some of these isotopes only because we can synthesize them, it would not be necessary for all 57 to be present; on a random basis, some could have been present, others absent. In a young earth we would at the present time find whichever of the 57 isotopes were present initially. What, then, is the probability that the 40 short-lived isotopes would be missing and the 17 long-lived would be present at the beginning? Calculation shows that the probability of such a distribution at the beginning, compared to all possible random distributions, is less than one part in 100 thousand billion; this is thus also the probability that the earth is young. " (Maatman, R.W.*, "The Impact of Evolutionary Theory: A Christian View," Dordt College Press: Sioux Center IA, 1993, pp.276-277. Emphasis original) 4/08/2006 "Nearly all the finches collected by Charles Darwin are similar in appearance to those taken by later collectors, but there are two forms which have not been recorded since 1835. First, there are three male and four female specimens obviously referable to the large ground-finch Geospiza magnirostris, but which are considerably larger than any collected since. ... while it would be pleasing to demonstrate measurable evolution on the basis of specimens collected by Darwin, it seems far more probable that these large birds represent an extinct subspecies of G. magnirostris from Charles, where the bird no longer resides. ... Also among the Beagle specimens are two which in my opinion belong to an unknown form related to the sharp- beaked groundfinch G. difficilis. They have a similar shape of beak, though the beak is larger." (Lack, D., "Darwin's Finches: An Essay on the General Biological Theory of Evolution," , Harper Torchbooks: New York NY, 1961, reprint, pp.22-23) 5/08/2006 "Nonetheless, the claim that evolution must be too slow to see can only rank as an urban legend-though not a completely harmless tale in this case, for our creationist incubi can then use the fallacy as an argument against evolution at any scale, and many folks take them seriously because they just `know' that evolution can never be seen in the immediate here and now. In fact, a precisely opposite situation actually prevails: biologists have documented a veritable glut of cases for rapid and eminently measurable evolution on timescales of years and decades. However, this plethora of documents-while important for itself, and surely valid as a general confirmation for the proposition that organisms evolve-teaches us rather little about rates and patterns of evolution at the geological scales that build the history and taxonomic structure of life. The situation is wonderfully ironic-a point that I have tried to capture in the title of this article. The urban legend holds that evolution is too slow to document in palpable human lifetimes. The opposite truth has affirmed innumerable cases of measurable evolution at this minimal scale-but to be visible at all over so short a span, evolution must be far too rapid (and transient) to serve as the basis for major transformations in geological time. Hence the `paradox of the visibly irrelevant'-or, `if you can see it at all, it's too fast to matter in the long run!'" (Gould, S.J., "The Paradox of the Visibly Irrelevant," in "The Lying Stones of Marrakech: Penultimate Reflections in Natural History," , Vintage: London, 2001, reprint, pp.333-346, pp.334-335) 5/08/2006 "I would recommend this book as supplementary reading in an introductory university course on evolution, but not without a word of caution. Whether the book is a masterpiece or not, its scope is quite narrow; there is some painful oversimplification and a number of irritants. Mr. Dawkins is solely concerned with what one may call `efficiency selection,' namely, when shortages of material resources generate a reproductive payoff for individuals that -- somehow -- manage to spend less of the precious resources on body maintenance and growth and thus proportionately more on reproduction. Designers also strive for this ideal and draw attention to it with the slogan `Less is more.' However, there are regimes of natural selection based not on poverty but on wealth, on superabundance of material resources, whether they are seasonal or circumstantial. Eyes and spider webs are organs of utility, and their evolution through efficiency selection runs by somewhat different rules from those of `luxury organs,' such as deer antlers and peacock tails. Mr. Dawkins's time frame for evolution is too optimistic. After all, organisms act to defeat natural selection, to escape from evolution. Mr. Dawkins pays no attention to adaptive phenotypic plasticity -- an organism's ability to alter its physiology to accommodate changes in its environment -- which normally thwarts natural selection on genes. Thus a false impression is conveyed that genes (mutations) generally produce the same results. They rarely do. Organisms vary in size, in form and structure and in other ways based on the environment they exploit, so that identical genetic constitutions can give rise to very different shapes and behaviors within the same species, depending on the environment they experience during early growth and maturation. While natural selection is continuous, evolution begins only when individuals in a population cannot adjust to environmental stresses with existing abilities. Mutations whose effect can be overridden by the normal abilities of individuals spread randomly and, at best, become part of the genetic load of the species. We expect evolution (genetic change) to be rare, and when it does occur, it is proof of incompetence, of extinction barely avoided. Successful forms do not evolve noticeably as they deal competently with environmental vagaries. To be a `living fossil' is the hallmark of biological success." (Geist, V., "The Origin of Eyes." Review of "Climbing Mount Improbable," by Richard Dawkins, W. W. Norton & Co: New York, 1996. The New York Times Book Review, September 29, 1996) 5/08/2006 "In Darwin's Journal the year 1837 contains an entry which runs, `In July opened first notebook on `Transmutation of Species'-Had been greatly struck from about month of previous March on character of S. American fossils--& species on Galapagos Archipelago. These facts origin (especially latter) of all my views.' This notebook is transcribed and printed below and forms the subject of the present study. ... It will be noticed that the passage from the journal quoted above must have been a retrospective entry written at a later date, for if he only began his Notebook in July 1837 he could not then have known what `all his views' were." (de Beer, G.R., ed., "Darwin's Notebooks on Transmutation of Species (1837-1839)," in Appleman, P., ed., "Darwin: A Norton Critical Edition," W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, First Edition, 1970, pp.70-71) 7/08/2006 "The personality of Galileo, as it emerges from works of popular science, has even less relation to historic fact than Canon Koppernigk's. In his particular case, however, this is not caused by a benevolent indifference towards the individual as distinct from his achievement, but by more partisan motives. In works with a theological bias, he appears as the nigger in the woodpile; in rationalist mythography, as the Maid of Orleans of Science, the St George who slew the dragon of the Inquisition. It is, therefore, hardly surprising that the fame of this outstanding genius rests mostly on discoveries he never made, and on feats he never performed. Contrary to statements in even recent outlines of science, Galileo did not invent the telescope; nor the microscope; nor the thermometer; nor the pendulum clock. He did not discover the law of inertia; nor the parallelogram of forces or motions; nor the sun spots. He made no contribution to theoretical astronomy; he did not throw down weights from the leaning tower of Pisa, and did not prove the truth of the Copernican system. He was not tortured by the Inquisition, did not languish in its dungeons, did not say 'eppur si muove' ["it still moves"]; and he was not a martyr of science. What he did was to found the modern science of dynamics, which makes him rank among the men who shaped human destiny. It provided the indispensable complement to Kepler's laws for Newton's universe: 'If I have been able to see farther,' Newton said, 'it was because I stood on the shoulders of giants.' The giants were, chiefly, Kepler, Galileo, and Descartes." (Koestler, A., "The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe", , Penguin: Harmondsworth, 1972, reprint, p.358. Parentheses mine) 7/08/2006 "The Court's reasoning in section E-4 is premised on: a cramped view of science; the conflation of intelligent design with creationism; an incapacity to distinguish the implications of a theory from the theory itself; a failure to differentiate evolution from Darwinism; and strawman arguments against ID. The Court has accepted the most tendentious and shopworn excuses for Darwinism with great charity and impatiently dismissed evidence-based arguments for design. All of that is regrettable, but in the end does not impact the realities of biology, which are not amenable to adjudication. On the day after the judge's opinion, December 21, 2005, as before, the cell is run by amazingly complex, functional machinery that in any other context would immediately be recognized as designed. On December 21, 2005, as before, there are no non-design explanations for the molecular machinery of life, only wishful speculations and Just-So stories." (Behe, M.J., "Whether Intelligent Design is Science: A Response to the Opinion of the Court in Kitzmiller vs Dover Area School District," Center for Science & Culture, Discovery Institute, Seattle WA, 2006) 7/08/2006 "But Doesn't Intelligent Design Refer to Something Supernatural? From an ID perspective, the natural- vs.-supernatural distinction is irrelevant. The real contrast is not between natural laws and miracles, but between undirected natural causes and intelligent ones. Mathematician and philosopher of science William Dembski puts it this way: `Whether an intelligent cause is located within or outside nature (i.e., is respectively natural or supernatural) is a separate question from whether an intelligent cause has operated.' Human actions are a case in point: `Just as humans do not perform miracles every time they act as intelligent agents, so there is no reason to assume that for a designer to act as an intelligent agent requires a violation of natural laws.' On the other hand, even if an object were miraculously created, it could still be studied. Take the flagellum, for example. No matter what its origins, a flagellum is a flagellum. We can take it apart, we can examine its components, we can modify it, we can figure out how it works. And we can do that whether it evolved over eons or popped into existence two seconds ago. In the world of human technology, this is called reverse engineering. But the same process is also used in biology. `That’s basically what everybody at the bench is doing,' said Scott Minnich, a microbiologist at the University of Idaho. `We don’t have the blueprints in the true sense. We have the DNA code for a lot of organisms, but in terms of the assembly of these molecular machines, it’s a matter of breaking them apart and trying to put them back together to figure out how they function.' This is also the kind of work that will be done with the human genome. Speaking to the New York Times in late June, when the human genome breakthrough was announced, Harold Varmus, former director of the National Institutes of Health commented, `The important thing is having pieces of DNA in your hand, and being able to figure out how they work by modifying and mutating them. That's where the game is now.' Fittingly, the metaphor he used to describe this process was examining a clock: `You can take the clock apart, lay the pieces out in front of you, and then try to understand what makes it tick by putting it back together again.'" (Hartwig, M., "Frequently Asked Questions about Intelligent Design," Access Research Network: Colorado Springs CO, 2003) 7/08/2006 "It is a hard fact that the scientific case for the intelligent design hypothesis is getting much stronger. ... How will the idea of intelligent design be regarded by the public and by the scientific community in years to come? ... On the one hand, although newspaper editorialists might disapprove, polls show that the great majority of the public already is convinced of design. On the other hand, because it has been raised on Darwinism, much of the scientific community is used to thinking exclusively in Darwinian terms. Nonetheless, even there it seems, the times they are a- changin'. A recent news article in the journal Nature reported on an invitation-only meeting where up-and-coming students could rub elbows with Nobel prize winning scientists. For this year's meeting the organizing committee `... invited scientific academies and other agencies around the world to open competitions for young scientists to attend, then whittled down a list of nearly 10,000 applicants. The final 2005 list of 720 invitees represented a new profile of participant: academically excellent, familiar with societal impacts of their research and fluent in English. They are generally under thirty, but the majority are now Ph.D. students or postdocs.' But the students asked surprising questions. `it is curious to see the questions that students from different cultures ask,' [Gunter Blobel (medicine, 1999)] remarked after a discussion on evolutionary biology led by Christian de Duve (medicine, 1974). He was taken aback to find some students expressing so much interest in the `creative guiding hand' of intelligent design.[Abbott, A., "Nobel laureates: Close encounters," Nature 436, July 14, 2005, pp.170-171]" (Behe, M.J., "Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution," , Free Press: New York NY, 10th Anniversary Edition, 2006, pp.272-273) 8/08/2006 "The term homology is derived from the Greek homologia which means `agreement', and is applied to corresponding organs and structures of plants and of animals which show `agreement' in their fundamental plan of structure, as for example the leaf of an oak tree with the leaf of an ash tree, or the right forelimb of a dog with the right forelimb of a horse. Richard Owen introduced the term into biological language in 1843 to express similarities in basic structure found between organs of animals which he considered to be more fundamentally similar than others. ... As it turned out, Owen was right in basing homology and homologous organs, or homologues, on their structure regardless of their function. An organ is homologous with another because of what it is, not because of what it does. Homologous organs are the `same' organs however modified in detailed form and in the function that they carry out. The forelimb of a horse is homologous with the wing of a bat, although the former serves for locomotion on land and the latter for flight in the air. Homology is therefore to be distinguished sharply from analogy, the term applied by Owen to structures that perform similar functions but do not correspond to the same representative in the archetype. The wings of an insect serve the same function as the wings of a bird and are analogous to them, not homologous with them. The entire science of comparative anatomy is concerned with the recognition of homologous organs in different groups of organisms, plants and animals, and their distinction from analogous organs. Like other people, Owen had predecessors in his way of thinking, and the earliest was Aristotle who may be said to have founded comparative anatomy in his Historia animalium, when he wrote: `There are living beings such that all the parts of one recall the corresponding parts of others'; forelimb of quadruped, wing of bird, fin of fish. " (de Beer, G.R., "Homology, An Unsolved Problem," Oxford University Press: London, 1971, p.3. Emphasis original) 8/08/2006 "Darwin's bombshell of evolution, which burst in 1859, had a profound effect on the concept of the explanation of homology, but without touching the criteria by which it is established. At one stroke, it was obvious that metaphysical `archetypes' do not exist, and that homology between organs is based on their correspondence with representatives in a common ancestor of the organisms being compared, from which they were descended in evolution. `What can be more curious,' asked Darwin, `than that the hand of a man, formed for grasping, that of a mole for digging, the leg of the horse, the paddle of the porpoise, and the wing of the bat, should be all constructed on the same pattern, and should include similar bones, in the same relative positions?' In the 6th edition of the Origin of species [sic] (1872) he went on to quote Sir William Flower: `We may call this conformity to type, without getting much nearer to an explanation of the phenomenon, but is it not powerfully suggestive of true relationship, of inheritance from a common ancestor?' In other words, it is homologous organs that provide evidence of affinity between organisms that have undergone descent with modification from a common ancestor, i.e. evolution. Furthermore, since evolution is the explanation of the `agreement' between homologous organs, their study, if they are hard parts susceptible of fossilization, is not restricted to the morphology of living organisms, but the entire range of palaeontology is available for it. So, provided with a cast-iron explanation in terms of affinity, of inheritance in evolution from a common ancestor, it looked as if the concept of homology was at last soundly based and presented no more problems of principle; however, as will be seen below, it unfortunately does." (de Beer, G.R., "Homology, An Unsolved Problem," Oxford University Press: London, 1971, pp.4-5. Emphasis original) 8/08/2006 "We can accept a certain amount of luck in our explanations, but not too much. The question is, how much? The immensity of geological time entitles us to postulate more improbable coincidences than a court of law would allow but, even so, there are limits. Cumulative selection is the key to all our modern explanations of uch idolatry has afforded to the forces of religious anti-evolutionism. I have argued that in the 1920s the association between evolutionism, on the one hand, and secularism and liberalism, on the other, helped to fan the flames of popular anti-evolutionary sentiment. Significantly, the same association appears to be playing its part in the current battle between evolutionists and so-called `scientific creationists' in the United States. ... All that needs to be said here is that this phenomenon is as deeply ideological today as it was 60 years ago. In the foreword to the bestknown textbook of scientific creationism, for example, the authors declare that, `in the name of modern science ... a nontheistic religion of secular evolutionary humanism has become, for all practical purposes, the official state religion promoted in the public schools' (Morris, ed., 1974, p.iii). To learn more about this religion we have only to read on, for at various stages in the book it is linked with atheism, materialism, mechanism and liberalism, as well as with behaviourism, libertinism, racism and communism (Morris, ed., 1974, pp.196-201, 252). Obviously, none of these labels is intended as a compliment, but it would be wrong to dismiss them as nothing more than a cheap exercise in mud-slinging. For much of the energy of the creationist movement arises from a sense of moral outrage at the advance of an evolution-centred worldview that has the audacity to parade its secular, liberal values as if they were the objective findings of science. Here at least, if not in matters of biological fact and theory, creationism has a point of which the scientific community might do well to take heed." (Durant, J.R., "Introduction," in "Durant, J.R., ed., "Darwinism and Divinity: Essays on Evolution and Religious Belief," Basil Blackwell: Oxford UK, 1985, pp.33-34) 15/08/2006 "Stressing connectedness and continuity also led Darwin to deny another important empirical pattern in the fossil record: stasis. Philosopher David Hull, in his Darwin and His Critics (1973), reprints all the early reviews of the first edition of Darwin's Origin, including some four or five by paleontologists. All of them remark on the absence of any truly significant discussion of the well-known fact (to paleontologists) that once a species appears in the fossil record, though it may exhibit normal variation both within local populations and geographically, little net evolutionary change tends to accumulate throughout its entire duration. This duration is now known to be typically 5 to 10 million years, at least in the case of marine invertebrate species. But Darwin did acknowledge that some species change more slowly than others (see above quote and note 20); he responded more fully to his critics on just this point in his sixth edition. Yet stasis remained an embarrassment to him, because the actions of natural selection should on first principle act to perfect and thus by definition modify adaptations were the environment to remain stable. Either that or it would modify species to keep fitting what mid-nineteenth-century geologists had been pointing out: that the earth, including its climate, is continually changing. For the most part, Darwin simply denied the reality of stasis. Instead, he chose once again to blame the nonprevalence of "incessantly graded series" in the fossil record on a poor record: poor preservation, lack of time documented in sediments, and lack of paleontological collecting and analytic experience. But none of these reasons could explain away the problem for later generations." (Eldredge, N., "The Pattern of Evolution," , W.H. Freeman & Co: New York NY, 2000, pp.88-89. Emphasis original) 15/08/2006 "What really irked Simpson, then, was not so much the rhetoric on the origin of reproductive disjunction but rather what he took to be the sheer triviality of the entire issue of species. The differences between closely related species are typically minor: Coyotes and timber wolves are fairly similar. To Simpson, all the energy expended on developing a biological species concept was never really worth it, simply because speciation itself entails only minor evolutionary changes. Simpson thought of speciation simply as a process of subdivision of the adaptive `zone' already occupied by the ancestral species-hardly the stuff of evolutionary novelty and innovation. What grabbed Simpson's attention, instead, were the large-scale changes in evolution: the origin of mammals from an ancestral reptilian stock, the origin of birds, or the diversification of the major subdivisions (the orders) of placental mammals. Steeped in Darwinian gradualist tradition, Simpson maintained that countless cases of evolution at and around the species level documented in the fossil record upheld the Darwinian view that change comes slowly, progressively, and gradually-and doesn't get anywhere far. New genera might arise in this slow, steady fashion. But, Simpson claimed in his highly original Tempo and Mode in Evolution (1944), such can hardly be the case for families, orders, and all the taxa of higher categorical rank in the Linnaean hierarchy. Some additional factors must be at work that prompt lineages to leave one adaptive zone for another. Such, it seemed to Simpson, was the stuff of true evolutionary creativity." (Eldredge, N., "The Pattern of Evolution," , W.H. Freeman & Co: New York NY, 2000, pp.133-134) 15/08/2006 "In example after example, Simpson saw that new groups seemed to appear suddenly in the fossil record. New higher taxa such as whales (mammalian order Cetacea), bats (order Chiroptera), or even the lineage of grass-grazing horses that evolved from leaf-browsing ancestors all made sudden appearances. Seldom was there a long series of intermediate forms that could be traced back through the tens of millions of years that such large-scale evolution would seem to call for. Moreover, Simpson saw that these new groups first appear pretty much in recognizable form. In modern terms, the defining characteristics, the synapopmorphies, that mark a lineage as distinct and evolutionarily homogeneous (monophyletic) are in place at the very outset of a group's evolutionary history. Eocene whales, for example, were distinctly whalelike. As one might expect, they were primitive in certain ways as whales; for example, they bore serrated teeth and still retained a pair of pelvic flippers. But those earliest whales were by no means half-way between a four-legged terrestrial mammalian ancestor and a modern sperm whale. They were much more like the latter than the former. Bats offer an even more dramatic example. The earliest ones known, also from the Eocene Epoch, have not only wings but also the distinctive inner-ear apparatus to show that echolocation had already evolved! And here is the kicker. The earliest whales Simpson knew about are some 55 million years old. If one could devise some sort of measure of rate of evolutionary change, the rate of change within whales over the past 55 million years would seem to be slow to moderate. If that rate were then extrapolated back to encompass the far greater anatomical changes between the earliest whales and their wholly terrestrial, four-legged mammalian ancestors, we would have to place the beginnings of whale evolution hundreds of millions of years back in geological time! And that is a patent absurdity, as placental mammals of any kind had appeared at most only a few tens of millions of years prior to the advent of the earliest whales." (Eldredge, N., "The Pattern of Evolution," , W.H. Freeman & Co: New York NY, 2000, pp.134-135. Emphasis original) 15/08/2006 "Simpson was, in a sense, skating on thin ice. For other paleontologists had also recognized this general pattern. Foremost among them was Otto Schindewolf, a German invertebrate paleontologist. Schindewolf imagined such evolutionary transitions to be as abrupt as the fossil record seemed to be indicating. Typostrophism was his term for it, literally a leap between one `type' and another. Such `saltational' ideas are reminiscent of another German biologist, Richard Goldschmidt, the geneticist remembered mostly for his advocacy of the sudden appearance of `hopeful monsters' through `macromutations.' Simpson had to distance himself from such renegade thinking. All the while, though, he admitted, albeit tacitly, that Schindewolf had a point about the pattern of relatively abrupt origin of higher taxa. He did so by developing a theory, Quantum Evolution, which could explain the absence of intermediate forms required by any version of a Darwinian-based explanation of evolutionary patterns. The core of Simpson's idea is that, at certain times and in certain circumstances, lineages evolve in rapid spurts. These bursts occur in such relatively small populations, happen so rapidly, and typically involve such a drastic transition from one major environment to another (for example, from land to sea for whales; from land to air for bats) that the chances of them leaving much of a fossil record is slight. Simpson was saying that the origin of higher taxa, the major evolutionary transitions, was essentially Darwinian in character. A full series of intermediates connects ancestors with descendants. But the whole process works so rapidly, involves so few creatures, and occurs in such unusual surroundings and circumstances that we can expect to find few or even no intermediate fossil forms in most instances. This absence of evidence, the lack of intermediate forms, troubled Simpson no matter how content he may have been with his explanation of that missing data." (Eldredge, N., "The Pattern of Evolution," , W.H. Freeman & Co: New York NY, 2000, p.134. Emphasis original) 15/08/2006 "In its own limited field, the science of genetics was immensely successful, and still is. But it took a long time for the more thoughtful among its practitioners to realize that their labours, while providing new insights into the mechanisms of minor hereditary variations, had little or no relevance to the basic problem of evolution: the origin and why and how of the major steps up the evolutionary ladder, the emergence of higher life-forms and new life-styles. In the words of Pierre Grassé who, let us remember, held the chair of evolution for thirty years at the Sorbonne (italics in the original): `Variation is one thing, evolution quite another: this cannot be emphasized strongly enough ...' [Grassé, P. "L'Evolution du Vivant," Editions Albin Michel: Paris, 1973, p.21 `Let. us repeat it once more: mutations do not provide an explanation for the nature or temporal order of the phenomena of evolution; they do not create evolutionary novelties; they cannot account for the precise fitting together of the parts of an organ and the mutual co-ordination of organs ... '[Ibid., p.351] `Mutations provide change but not progress ...' [Ibid.] `The repertory of mutations or mutation-spectrum of a species has nothing to do with evolution. The 'Jordanons' (equivalents of mutations) of the whitlow grass Erophila verna); of the wild pansy Viola tricolor); of the Plantains (Plantago); of the candytuft (Iberis), which add up to a rich and well-catalogued assortment, are the irrefutable proof of it. When all is said, Erophila verna, Viola tricolor, etc., despite their numerous mutations, do not evolve. This is a fact. The various races of dogs, and of all the other domesticated animals, represent merely the mutation spectrum of the species, manipulated by artificial selection. The same applies to garden plants. Nothing in all this amounts to an evolution.' [Ibid.]" (Koestler, A., "Janus: A Summing Up," Picador: London, 1983, pp.182-183. Emphasis original) 15/08/2006 "`In any given culture and at any given moment,' Foucault wrote in Les mots et les choses, `there is always only one episteme that defines the conditions of possibility of all knowledge, whether expressed in a theory or silently invested in a practice.' This observation, which might otherwise serve as a motto for this book, immediately presents difficulties: Only one episteme? All knowledge? As shall be seen, a large part of the conflict in Darwin's era arose from the fact that there were, in effect, not one but two major epistemes in natural history invoking different standards of scientific knowledge and influencing in multitudinous ways the practice of naturalists as well as their theories about nature. I shall call them positivism and creationism. The positivist limited scientific knowledge, which he saw as the only valid form of knowledge, to the laws of nature and to processes involving `secondary, or natural, causes exclusively. The creationist, on the other hand, saw the world and everything in it as being the result of direct or indirect divine activity. His science was inseparable from his theology. His epistemology was closely geared to a metaphysics, and in metaphysics he tended to be an `idealist.' To comprehend nature fully, for a scientist of this persuasion, was to Understand the workings of the mind of the Creator. This emphasis on minded purposes and design in nature is what I shall mean by `idealism.'" (Gillespie, N.C., "Charles Darwin and the Problem of Creation," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, 1979, p.3) 15/08/2006 "The widespread movement in recent years toward the establishment of new private Christian schools has been stimulated largely by the failure of the public schools to maintain academic and philosophic objectivity. In the name of modern science and of church-state separation, the Bible and theistic religion have been effectively banned from curricula, and a nontheistic religion of secular evolutionary humanism has become, for all practical purposes, the official state religion promoted in the public schools." (Morris, H.M.*, "Scientific Creationism," , Master Books: El Cajon CA, Second Edition, 1985, p.iii) 15/08/2006 "We are using the term `religion' in a very broad sense, as including any concepts of ethics, values, or ultimate meanings. Evolution is, in fact, a religious belief in this sense, and so is atheism. In fact, this is one very cogent reason why creationists object to the exclusive teaching of evolution in the schools, since in effect this amounts to indoctrinating young: people in a particular religion, with its own system of ethics and values and ultimate meanings. That evolution is fundamentally religious, is recognized officially by the American Humanist Association. `Humanism is the belief that man shapes his own destiny. It is a constructive philosophy, a non-theistic religion, a way of life... . The American Humanist Association is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, incorporated in the early 1940's in Illinois for educational and religious purposes.' ["What is Humanism?," Membership Brochure, Humanist Community of San Jose, San Jose CA) . Many prominent evolutionists, such as Julian Huxley, H. J. Muller, Hudson Hoagland, and others are listed as leading members of the association. One of the founders is listed as John Dewey, the man more responsible than any other single individual for our modern philosophy of public education. The A.H.A. promotional brochure quotes Julian Huxley as follows: `I use the word `humanist' to mean someone who believes that man is just as much a natural phenomenon as an animal or plant; that his body, mind and soul were not supernaturally created but are products of evolution, and that he is not under the control or guidance of any supernatural being or beings, but has to rely on himself and his own powers.' No one questions the right of Julian Huxley, John Dewey or anyone else to believe such things if he wishes, but that does not give them the right to indoctrinate students in such beliefs, especially under the name of `science.'" (Morris, H.M.*, "Scientific Creationism," , Master Books: El Cajon CA, Second Edition, 1985, pp.196-197. Emphasis original) 16/08/2006 "Evolutionary thought today provides many other instances where the priority of the paradigm takes precedence over common sense. Take the response by specialists in pre-biotic evolution to the implications of the shrinking time available for the origin of the cell. ... over the past decade the estimates of the time when life first occurred on the planet have moved closer and closer to the formation of the Earth's crust. A span of time which was once measured in thousands of millions of years has now shrunk to a few hundred million at the most. The recent discovery of blue green algae in rocks nearly 3.5 x 10^9 years old leaves a gap of perhaps 400 x 10^6 years between the formation of the oceans and the appearance of life. It is beginning to look as though simple life appeared as soon as the surface waters were sufficiently plentiful and cool enough to support it. On top of this, evidence from the earliest sedimentary rocks gives no indication of a supposed primeval soup. One might have expected, considering the great difficulty in visualizing how life might have arisen as a result of simple random processes that the ever-shrinking time available at the roulette wheel would have caused at least a ripple of doubt in the mind of even the most earnest believer. But, on the contrary, Carl Sagan in a recent Scientific American article takes the shrinking time available as evidence that life is probable! `Thus the time available for the origin of life seems to have been short, a few hundred million years at the most. Since life originated on the earth, we have additional evidence that the origin of life has a high probability.' [Sagan, C., "The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence," Scientific American, Vol. 232, No. 5, May 1975, pp.80-89, p.82]. Thus again the paradigm prevails and the holistic illusion is created that every single fact of biology irrefutably supports the Darwinian thesis. Hence, even evidence that is to all common sense hostile to the traditional picture is rendered invisible by unjustified assumptions. Of course, the triumph is only psychological and subjective. The rationalizations are unconvincing to anyone not emotionally committed to the defence of Darwinian theory. To an outsider from the community of belief, they merely tend to emphasize the metaphysical nature of evolutionary claims and the lack of any sort of rational or empirical basis." (Denton, M.J., "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis," Burnett Books: London, 1985, pp.352-353) 17/08/2006 "In the first edition of the Origin, after the sentence ending with the words `...insects in the water,' I added the following sentence:- `Even in so extreme a case as this, if the supply of insects were constant, and if better adapted competitors did not already exist in the country, I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered by Natural Selection more and more aquatic in their structures and habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale.' [Darwin, C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," First Edition, 1859, Penguin: London, 1985, reprint, p.215] This sentence was omitted in the subsequent editions, owing to the advice of Prof. Owen, as it was liable to be misinterpreted; but I have always regretted that I followed this advice, for I still think the view quite reasonable." (Darwin, C.R., Letter to R.G. Whiteman, May 5th, 1881, in Darwin, F. & Seward, A.C., eds, "More Letters of Charles Darwin," John Murray: London, 1903, Vol. 1, pp.392-393). 17/08/2006 "Darwin's Origin of Species contains some wonderful insights and magnificent lines, but this masterpiece also includes a few notable clunkers. Darwin experienced most embarrassment from the following passage, curtailed and largely expunged from later editions of his book: `In North America the black bear was seen by Hearne swimming for hours with widely open mouth, thus catching, like a whale, insects in the water. Even in so extreme a case as this, if the supply of insects were constant, and if better adapted competitors did not already exist in the country, I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural selection, more aquatic in their structure and habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale.' [Darwin, C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," First Edition, 1859, Penguin: London, 1985, reprint, p.215] Why did Darwin become so chagrined about this passage? His hypothetical tale may be pure speculation and conjecture, but the scenario not entirely absurd. Darwin's discomfort arose, I think, from his failure to follow a scientific norm of a more sociocultural nature. Scientific conclusions supposedly rest upon facts and information. Speculation is not entirely taboo, and may sometimes be necessary faute de mieux. But when scientists propose truly novel and comprehensive theories-as Darwin tried to do in advancing natural selection as the primary mechanism of evolution-they need particularly good support, and invented hypothetical cases just don't supply sufficient confidence for crucial conclusions." (Gould, S.J., "Hooking Leviathan by Its Past," in "Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History," Harmony Books: New York NY, 1995, pp.359-360) 18/08/2006 "The development of whalebone (baleen) in the mouth of the whale is another difficulty. A whale's mouth is furnished with very numerous horny plates, which hang down from the palate along each side of the mouth. They thus form two longitudinal series, each plate of which is placed transversely to the long axis of the body, and all are very close together. On depressing the lower lip the free outer edges of these plates come into view. Their inner edges are furnished with numerous coarse hair-like processes, consisting of some of the constituent fibres of the horny plates-which, as it were, fray out, and the month is thus lined, except below, by a network of countless fibres formed by the inner edges of the two series of plates. This network acts as a sort of sieve. When the whale feeds it takes into its mouth a great gulp of water, which it drives out again through the intervals of the horny plates of baleen, the fluid thus traversing the sieve of horny fibres, which retains the minute creatures on which these marine monsters subsist. Now it is obvious, that if this baleen had once attained such a size and development as to be at all useful, then its preservation and augmentation within serviceable limits would be promoted by `Natural Selection' alone. But how to obtain the beginning of such useful development?" (Mivart St.G.J., "On the Genesis of Species," Macmillan & Co: London, Second edition, 1871, pp.45-46. My emphasis) 18/08/2006 "With respect to the baleen, Mr. Mivart remarks that if it "had once attained such a size and development as to be at all useful, then its preservation and augmentation within serviceable limits would be promoted by natural selection alone. But how to obtain the beginning of such useful development?" In answer, it may be asked, why should not the early progenitors of the whales with baleen have possessed a mouth constructed something like the lamellated beak of a duck? Ducks, like whales, subsist by sifting the mud and water; and the family has sometimes been called Criblatores, or sifters. I hope that I may not be misconstrued into saying that the progenitors of whales did actually possess mouths lamellated like the beak of a duck. I wish only to show that this is not incredible, and that the immense plates of baleen in the Greenland whale might have been developed from such lamellć by finely graduated steps, each of service to its possessor." (Darwin, C.R., "The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection," Sixth Edition, 1872, Senate: London, 1994, p.183) 18/08/2006 "The Hyperoodon bidens [pygmy sperm whale] is destitute of true teeth in an efficient condition, but its palate is roughened, according to Lacčpede, with small, unequal, hard points of horn. There is, therefore, nothing improbable in supposing that some early cetacean form was provided with similar points of horn on the palate, but rather more regularly placed, and which, like the knobs on the beak of the goose, aided it in seizing or tearing its food. If so, it will hardly be denied that the points might have been converted through variation and natural selection into lamellć as well-developed as those of the Egyptian goose, in which case they would have been used both for seizing objects and for sifting the water; then into lamellć like those of the domestic duck; and so onwards, until they became as well constructed as those of the shoveller, in which case they would have served exclusively as a sifting apparatus. From this stage, in which the lamellć would be two-thirds of the length of the plates of baleen in the Balćnoptera rostrata, gradations, which may be observed in still-existing Cetaceans, lead us onwards to the enormous plates of baleen in the Greenland whale. Nor is there the least reason to doubt that each step in this scale might have been as serviceable to certain ancient Cetaceans, with the functions of the parts slowly changing during the progress of development, as are the gradations in the beaks of the different existing members of the duck family." (Darwin, C.R., "The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection," Sixth Edition, 1872, Senate: London, 1994, pp.185-186. My parenthesis) 18/08/2006 "Whales are divided into two main groups, toothed whales and baleen whales. Both, of course, are mammals descended from land-dwelling ancestors, and they may well have 'invented' the whale way of life independently of one another, starting from different land-dwelling ancestors. The toothed whales include sperm whales, killer whales and the various species of dolphins, all of which hunt relatively large prey such as fish and squids, which they catch in their jaws. Several toothed whales, of which only dolphins have been thoroughly studied, have evolved sophisticated echo-sounding equipment in their heads." (Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker," W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, 1986, p.96) 18/08/2006 "By the mid-Oligocene [~32 mya], the teeth of some mysticetes had given way to rows of baleen plates, the remarkable keratin feeding structures present in all modern mysticetes, which evolved suspended from the curved transverse ridges of the palate. Baleen is epidermal in origin, growing as fibres embedded in a softer matrix. As the softer material is rubbed away by the tongue, the fibres become exposed. Most present-day types of baleen whales still have teeth during the early stages of fetal development, and some very primitive fossil mysticetes had functional teeth as adults, further indications of their common ancestry with the toothed whales (supporting independent anatomical and chromosomal evidence). Many modifications of the archaeocete skull towards the odontocete and mysticete forms involved telescoping of the front of the skull ... In odontocetes, the development of acoustic scanning, as a means of locating cues underwater and to aid the capture of fish, probably took place alongside the telescoping of the skull, and evolution of various specialised organs including the melon, nasal passages and, in the sperm whales, the spermaceti organ. Active echolocation may have been practised by the earliest odontocetes of the Oligocene or at least they were pre-adapted to do this, with the ear bones isolated by fat bodies and air sacs allowing directional hearing." (Evans, P., " The Natural History of Whales & Dolphins," Christopher Helm: London, 1987, p.23. My parenthesis) 19/08/2006 "When it is not the `desire for some such hypothesis,' or the feeling that `it is better to think in terms of improbable events than not to think at all,' that draws men to Darwinism, it is often the confusion between the theories of evolution and natural selection. Every paleontological discovery that seems to have evolutionary significance is somehow taken as confirmation of the theory of natural selection, even when it has not the remotest bearing upon that theory. Similarly every evidence of natural selection, manifesting itself upon however small a scale, is taken as evidence of Darwinian evolution, of the `origin of species by means of natural selection.' Thus the one item of empirical evidence that is cited again and again in reply to the skeptic's demand for proof is the famous experiment of H.B.D. Kettlewell in 1924 [sic 1955], demonstrating that the smoke-blackened regions of industrial England favor the perpetuation of darker-rather than lighter-colored moths. But no one questions the operation of natural selection on this level, just as no one questions the evidence for the evolution of the horse. What is in question is the operation of natural selection in the evolution of one major species into another, and ultimately the operation of natural selection in the evolution of all species from the `one primordial form' posited by Darwin." (Himmelfarb, G., "Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution," , Elephant Paperbacks: Chicago IL, 1996, reprint, p.446) 19/08/2006 "The press-stud, by means of which two distinct parts of the body are united, is found in certain arthropods both insects and crustaceans, and also in some cephalopod molluscs. Aquatic Hemiptera (bugs) of the Hydrocorixidae family, such as Nepa, Ranatra, Nototecta, Corixa or water boatmen, possess the typical press-stud. It unites the outer edge of the hemelytron (or thickened front wing) to the thorax. In Notonecta the thorax carries a protruding knob, hard and chitinous, which fits into a circular depression on the outer edge of the hemelytron. Adherence is reinforced by the scaly nature of the two surfaces in contact. As the insect flies away its wings are freed and the click of the press-stud as it comes apart can be heard. The aquatic life of these insects means that the device is particularly valuable. Notonecta, when deprived of its press-studs, dives with difficulty; since the hemelytra are no longer affixed to the thorax air accumulates in the intervening spaces. This air acts as a float and the insect tends to rise to the surface. If the hemelytra are artificially stuck to the thorax the insect can again dive normally. The mutilated insect will, however, swim like a normal insect after a few hours have elapsed, though the period of time it stays under water is shorter. The press-studs of the other Hydrocorixidae have the same general structure with certain modifications of detail. The press-stud is commonly found among cephalopod molluscs in which it fastens the lower ventral edge of the 'funnel' to the internal surface of the 'mantle'. Its position is fixed, but its structure varies in different families. The best developed is that of the cuttlefish which fits tightly and allows the animal to swim backwards. Water in the mantle cavity, forcibly expelled by the cuttle-fish, can escape only by the narrow mouth of the funnel, and the jet thus produced shoots the animal backwards like a torpedo. The pressstud relies on the active participation of the muscles and ceases to function with the animal's death. In reposes the elasticity of the muscles keeps the device closed and its solidity is further increased by the muscular contraction which accompanies swimming. The cephalopods which swim most strongly are, in fact, endowed with the most efficient press-studs, reinforced by cartilaginous elements. ... But how could these organic inventions, these small tools, appear? It seems most improbable that a single mutation could have given rise simultaneously to the various elements which compose, say, a press-stud or hooking device. Several mutations must therefore be assumed, but this implies the further assumption of close coordination between different and distinct mutations. Such indispensable coordination is a major stumbling block, for no known mutations occur in this way. Neo-Darwinism recognizes only fortuitous and always isolated mutations. In addition, the fossil record shows that the musical equipment of the cricket, for instance, and the hooking apparatus of insect wings, evolved and slowly improved. Successive mutations, not being simultaneous, must have been coordinated in order to achieve those adjustments without which the devices could not function. It is extremely difficult to imagine such an unlikely mechanism. The genesis of tools, in fact, remains an enigma." (Tétry, A., "Theories of Evolution," in Rostand, J. & Tétry, A., "Larousse Science of Life: A Study of Biology Sex, Genetics, Heredity and Evolution," , Hamlyn: London, 1971, pp.429,432) 22/08/2006 "An imaginative idea about what a prebiotic genetic system might have been like has been proposed by A. G. Cairns-Smith, most recently in a charming book titled Seven Clues to the Origin of Life. Bizarre as the idea may appear at first, or even upon reflection, Cairns-Smith thinks that clay crystals have qualities that might make possible their combination into a form of pre-organic mineral life. According to Darwinist assumptions, natural selection would then favor the more efficient clay replicators, preparing the way for an eventual `genetic takeover' by organic molecules that had evolved because of their increasing usefulness in the pre-organic process. The imagination involved in the mineral origin of life thesis is impressive, but for my purpose it is sufficient to say that it is altogether lacking in experimental confirmation. According to the biochemist Klaus Dose, `This thesis is beyond the comprehension of all biochemists or molecular biologists who are daily confronted with the experimental facts of life.' [Dose, K., "Book Review of Clay Minerals and the Origin of Life by A.G. Cairns-Smith and H. Hartman," BioSystems, Vol. 22, No. 1, 1988, p.89]. That would ordinarily be more than enough reason to discard a theory, but many scientists still take the idea of a mineral origin of life seriously because there is no clearly superior competitor." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Darwin on Trial," , InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove IL, Second Edition, 1993, pp.108-109) 22/08/2006 "Q: Given the prominence of the evolutionary perspective in your work, can you comment on the current efforts to present `Intelligent Design' as an alternative to biological evolution in public schools in America? A: It is a sorry commentary on the state of public understanding of science that a large fraction of the US population is willing to accept that Intelligent Design (ID), essentially a tarted-up version of creationism, and evolution are in some sense parallel or comparable. The ID argument, as near as I can tell is `These biological organisms are so complex that I cannot imagine how they got to be like they are. If I cannot understand that, nobody can understand it. Better call in God'. To think that ID in any way provides evidence against biological evolution shows a lack of even a rudimentary understanding of the nature of scientific evidence and scientific argument. At the risk of sounding cynical, though, I would venture that most of the people pushing ID do not give a rat's patootie about having a scientific discussion over evolution or considering what the data might tell us; they're simply looking for a way to insert their own peculiar religious beliefs into public education." (Hendrix, R., "Q & A: Roger Hendrix, Current biology, Vol 16, No. 16, 22 August 2006, pp.R619-R620) 23/08/2006 "The human brain is now about three times larger than that of Australopithecus. This increase has often been called the most rapid and most important event in the history of evolution. But our bodies have also increased greatly in size. Is this enlargement of the brain a simple consequence of bigger bodies or does it mark new levels of intelligence? To answer this question, I have plotted cranial capacity against inferred body weight for the following fossil hominids (representing, perhaps, our lineage): Australopithecus africanus; Richard Leakey's remarkable find with a cranial capacity of nearly 800 cubic centimeters and an antiquity of more than two million years (weight estimated by David Pilbeam from dimensions of the femur); Homo erectus from Choukoutien (Peking Man); and modern Homo sapiens. ... Evolutionary increase in human brain size (dotted line). The four triangles represent a rough evolutionary sequence. Australopithecus africanus, ER- 1470 (Richard Leakey's new find with a cranial capacity just slightly less than 800cc), Homo erectus (Peking Man), and Homo sapiens. The slope is the highest ever calculated for an evolutionary sequence. The two solid lines represent more conventional scaling of brain size in australopithecines (above) and great apes (below). ("Size and Scaling in Human Evolution," Pilbeam, David, and Gould, Stephen Jay, Science Vol. 186, pp. 892-901, Fig. 2, 6 December 1974. ... The graph indicates that our brain has increased much more rapidly than any prediction based on compensations for body size would allow. My conclusion is not unconventional, and it does reinforce an ego that we would do well to deflate. Nonetheless, our brain has undergone a true increase in size not related to the demands of our larger body." (Gould, S.J., "Sizing Up Human Intelligence," in "Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, p.p.183-185) 24/08/2006 "In 1966, an American evolutionist, G.C. Williams, produced a work, Adaptation and Natural Selection, designed to promote the progress of evolutionary theory (which it did). Williams begins with a statement about the scope of natural selection. His book, he says, `is based on the assumption that the laws of physical science plus natural selection can furnish a complete explanation for any biological phenomenon'. [Williams G.C., "Adaptation and Natural Selection: A Critique of Some Current Evolutionary Thought," , Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ, 1996, pp.6-7] Can this grandiose proposal be justified?" (Barnett, S.A., "Science, Myth or Magic?: A Struggle for Existence," Allen & Unwin: St. Leonards NSW, 2000, p.84) 24/08/2006 "But the notion of modern Darwinism as a complete theory, easily described, is another illusion. Simple presumptions about natural selection are always misleading. Its most conspicuous complication was familiar to Darwin. In On the Origin of Species, his most important work, he wrote on `Correlation of Growth': `I mean by this expression that the whole organization is so tied together during its growth and development that when slight variations in any one part occur, and are accumulated by natural selection, other parts become modified. This is a very important subject, imperfectly understood.' [Darwin, C.R., "The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection," Sixth Edition, 1872, Senate: London, 1994, p.114] And here is J.B.S. Haldane (1892-1964), another giant of theoretical biology, in 1932. `... with an animal or plant we are at first struck by its obvious adaptations; its claws, teeth, spines, protective colouring, and so on ... But there remain a host of characters with no obvious value to their possessor ... When we have pushed our analysis as far as possible, innumerable characters show no sign of possessing selective value.' [(Haldane, J.B.S., "The Causes of Evolution," , Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ, 1993, Second Printing, p.62] As Darwin had realised, when a new trait emerges by natural selection, it can drag along with it other changed features which are not themselves advantageous. They have been called side effects, free riders or spinoffs. Yet it is still sometimes supposed that any feature, of any organism, is adaptive: that is, that it has or recently had selective value." (Barnett, S.A., "Science, Myth or Magic?: A Struggle for Existence," Allen & Unwin: St. Leonards NSW, 2000, p.85) 24/08/2006 "We can rarely say how the variation we see today has arisen. Darwin asked why the nest of a thrush (Turdus philomelos) is lined with mud, while the closely related blackbird (Turdus merula) prefers fibrous roots; he could find no answer. R.C. Lewontin in 1979 similarly pointed to the difference between the Indian rhinoceros and the African: why has the African species two horns, the other only one? Perhaps no `Darwinian' answer exists: we need not assume that conditions in Africa once selected for two horns." (Barnett, S.A., "Science, Myth or Magic?: A Struggle for Existence," Allen & Unwin: St. Leonards NSW, 2000, p.84) 24/08/2006 "This book is based on the assumption that the laws of physical science plus natural selection can furnish a complete explanation for any biological phenomenon, and that these principles can explain adaptation in general and in the abstract and any particular example of an adaptation. This is a common but not a universal belief among biologists. " (Williams, G.C., "Adaptation and Natural Selection: A Critique of Some Current Evolutionary Thought," , Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ, 1996, pp.6-7) 24/08/2006 "When different people consider the work of a revolutionary like Darwin, they see different aspects of it as representing the `real' or `fundamental' element that separates it from the preexistent conformity of thought. To many ... Darwin's unique intellectual contribution was the idea of natural selection. For them, Darwinism is the theory that evolution occurs because, in a world of finite resources, some organisms will make more efficient use of those resources in producing their progeny and so will leave more descendants than their less efficient relatives. Yet it is by no means certain, even now, what proportion of all evolutionary change arises from natural selection. Attitudes toward the importance of random events as opposed to selective ones vary from time to time and place to place." (Lewontin, R.C., "The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change," Columbia University Press: New York NY, 1974, p.3) 24/08/2006 "It is an irony of evolutionary genetics that, although it is a fusion of Mendelism and Darwinism, it has made no direct contribution to what Darwin obviously saw as the fundamental problem: the origin of species." (Lewontin, R.C., "The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change," Columbia University Press: New York NY, 1974, p.159) 24/08/2006 "Scientists believe they have found a key gene that helped the human brain evolve from our chimp-like ancestors. In just a few million years, one area of the human genome seems to have evolved about 70 times faster than the rest of our genetic code. It appears to have a role in a rapid tripling of the size of the brain's crucial cerebral cortex, according to an article published Thursday in the journal Nature. Study co-author David Haussler, director of the Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said his team found strong but still circumstantial evidence that a certain gene, called HAR1F, may provide an important answer to the question: `What makes humans brainier than other primates?' Human brains are triple the size of chimp brains. Looking at 49 areas that have changed the most between the human and chimpanzee genomes, Haussler zeroed in on an area with `a very dramatic change in a relatively short period of time.' That one gene didn't exist until 300 million years ago and is present only in mammals and birds, not fish or animals without backbones. But then it didn't change much at all. There are only two differences in that one gene between a chimp and a chicken, Haussler said. But there are 18 differences in that one gene between human and chimp and they all seemed to occur in the development of man, he said. Andrew Clark, a Cornell University professor molecular biology who was not part of Haussler's team, said that if true, the change in genes would be fastest and most dramatic in humans and would be `terrifically exciting.' However, the gene changed so fast that Clark said that he has a hard time believing it unless something unusual happened in a mutation. It's not part of normal evolution, he said. .... The scientists still don't know specifically what the gene does. But they know that this same gene turns on in human fetuses at seven weeks after conception and then shuts down at 19 weeks, Haussler said." (Borenstein, S., "Scientists Find Brain Evolution Gene," ABC News/Associated Press, August 16, 2006) 24/08/2006 "... Thomas Henry Huxley invoked the same image in declining to pursue further the decisive victory he had won over Richard Owen in the great hippocampus debate: `Life is too short to occupy oneself with the slaying of the slain more than once.' Owen had sought to establish our uniqueness by arguing that a small convolution of the human brain, the hippocampus minor, was absent in chimps and gorillas (and all other creatures), but present in Homo sapiens alone. Huxley ... showed conclusively that all apes had a hippocampus, and that any discontinuity in the structure of primate brains lay between prosimians (lemurs and tarsiers) and all other primates (including humans), not between man and the great apes. Yet for a month, in April, 1861, all England watched as her two greatest anatomists waged war over a little bump on the brain. ... The Western world has yet to make its peace with Darwin and the implications of evolutionary theory. The hippocampus debate merely illustrates, in light relief, the greatest impediment to this reconciliation-our unwillingness to accept continuity between ourselves and nature, our ardent search for a criterion to assert our uniqueness. Again and again, the great naturalists have enunciated general theories of nature and made singular exceptions for humans. Charles Lyell ... envisioned a world in steady-state: no change through time in the complexity of life, with all organic designs present from the first. Yet man alone was created but a geological instant ago-a quantum jump in the moral sphere imposed upon the constancy of mere anatomical deign. And Alfred Russel Wallace, an ardent selectionist who far out-Darwined Darwin in his rigid insistence on natural selection as the sole directing force for evolutionary change made his only exception for the human brain ... Darwin himself, although he accepted strict continuity, was reluctant to expose his heresy. " (Gould, S.J., "A Matter of Degree," in "Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, pp.49-50) 24/08/2006 "Chimps and gorillas have long been the battleground of our search for uniqueness; for if we could establish an unambiguous distinction-of kind rather than of degree-between ourselves and our closest relatives, we might gain the justification long sought for our cosmic arrogance. The battle shifted long ago from a simple debate about evolution: educated people now accept the evolutionary continuity between humans and apes. But we are so tied to our philosophical and religious heritage that we still seek a criterion for strict division between our abilities and those of chimpanzees. For, as the psalmist sang: "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?...For thou has made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor." Many criteria have been tried, and one by one they have failed. The only honest alternative is to admit the strict continuity in kind between ourselves and chimpanzees. And what do we lose thereby? Only an antiquated concept of soul to gain a more humble, even exalting vision of our oneness with nature." (Gould, S.J., "A Matter of Degree," in "Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, pp.50-51) 25/08/2006 "Those who have known and respected A.G. Cairns- Smith as a vivid critic of earlier simulation experiments and hypotheses now must realize that Cairns-Smith's thesis of `genetic takeover and the mineral origins of life' is as yet without experimental basis. Interactions of organic molecules with clays as well as the catalytic activities of clays have likely contributed to prebiotic evolution. These effects deserve much more attention than they have found so far. But a mineral origin of life? This thesis is beyond the comprehension of all biochemists or molecular biologists who are daily confronted with the experimental facts of life. The poor response of life scientists to Cairns-Smith's thesis is therefore no surprise. This book is only of marginal interest to life scientists." (Dose, K., "Clay Minerals and the Origin of Life." Review of "Clay Minerals and the Origin of Life," by A.G. Cairns-Smith and H. Hartman, Cambridge University Press, 1986. Biosystems, Vol. 22., No. 1, 1988, p.89) 25/08/2006 "One of the major unsolved problems of geology and evolution is the occurrence of diversified, multicellular marine invertebrates in Lower Cambrian rocks on all the continents and their absence in rocks of greater age. These Early Cambrian fossils included porifera, coelenterates, brachiopods, mollusca, echinoids, and arthropods. In the Arthropoda are included the well-known trilobites, which were complexly organized, with well-differentiated head and tail, numerous thoracic parts, jointed legs, and-like the later crustaceans-a complex respiratory system. From a phylogenetic standpoint the Early Cambrian faunal assemblage is generally interpreted to represent rather simple ancestral types in their respective phyla, which rapidly diversified into numerous types (species, genera, families, orders) during and following the Early Cambrian. Their high degree of organization clearly indicates that a long period of evolution preceded their appearance in the record. However, when we turn to examine the Precambrian rocks for the forerunners of these Early Cambrian fossils; they are nowhere to be found. Many thick (over 5000 feet) sections of sedimentary rock are now known to lie in unbroken succession below strata containing the earliest Cambrian fossils. These sediments apparently were suitable for the preservation of fossils because they often are identical with overlying rocks which are fossiliferous, yet no fossils are found in them. Clearly, a significant but unrecorded chapter in the history of life is missing from the rocks of Precambrian time." (Axelrod, D.I., "Early Cambrian Marine Fauna," Science, Vol. 128, 4 July 1956, pp.7-9, p.7. References omitted) 25/08/2006 "The battle's been raging for almost 9 million years, but contrary to a beloved evolutionary theory, there was no arms race between the plant and its pest. Molecular biology's much-studied mustard, Arabidopsis thaliana, and the plant's old enemy, a Pseudomonas bacterial rot, have not been trumping each other's defenses with escalating innovations, report Eli A. Stahl of the University of Chicago and his colleagues. Instead, analysis of DNA regions around the plant's rot-resistance gene suggests that pretty much the same old weapons have gone through cycles of use and disuse in what the researchers describe as `trench warfare.' For the mustard-rot war, `we reject the arms race hypothesis,' they state flatly in the Aug. 12 NATURE. Their manifesto challenges what evolutionary ecologist Peter M. Kareiva ... calls `one of the more compelling metaphors of biology.' The idea resounds through tales of interplay between diseases and hosts and between herbivores and food plants. `I don't think there has ever been that much empirical evidence for any sort of escalating arms race,' Kareiva says. `The power of the idea was mostly the power of the metaphor.' .... For a rigorous look at the history of such conflicts, Stahl and his colleagues sequenced DNA from mustard plants collected in 26 locales ranging from Indiana to Kazakhstan. Twelve populations had a gene, rpm1, that allows the plant to recognize the rot and mount a physiological defense. The others had no resistance gene and developed soft, mushy lesions when exposed to the pest. Had there been an arms race, the currently effective resistance would have evolved recently. The researchers instead found that rpm1 has been around for about as long as the species itself. The diversity in the inactive DNA flanking the resistance gene indicates its ancient origin, argues coauthor Joy Bergelson, also of Chicago. `It was very surprising,' Bergelson says. This evidence suggests to her that raging epidemics favor the spread of the resistance genes until so many plants are protected that the rot runs out of victims and recedes. Then rpm1 itself, which might drain some of the plant's resources and thus exact some maintenance cost, wanes in the population until the next epidemic. `It's very clever, and it's probably right,' comments Kareiva. However, he muses that there may be too little evidence yet to accept a new model. For example, `it's often hard to identify a cost of resistance,' he cautions. Regardless, the mustard's history is hardly an arms race, says Barbara A. Schaal of Washington University in St. Louis. In the classic scenario, any variation is transient. Yet in the mustard's, there's `good evidence that natural selection is operating to maintain diversity,' she says. Without more molecular tests, Bergelson doesn't claim to know whether other conflicts follow the same pattern as the mustard-rot scenario. As Kareiva puts it, however, now `there will be a lot of labs looking at sequencing data." (Milius, S., "The mustard war wasn't so racy after all," Science News August 14, 1999) 25/08/2006 "The first systems of molecules having the properties of the living state presumably self-assembled from a mixture of organic compounds available on the prebiotic Earth. To carry out the polymer synthesis characteristic of all forms of life, such systems would require one or more sources of energy to activate monomers to be incorporated into polymers. Possible sources of energy for this process include heat, light energy, chemical energy, and ionic potentials across membranes. These energy sources are explored here, with a particular focus on mechanisms by which self-assembled molecular aggregates could capture the energy and use it to form chemical bonds in polymers. Based on available evidence, a reasonable conjecture is that membranous vesicles were present on the prebiotic Earth and that systems of replicating and catalytic macromolecules could become encapsulated in the vesicles. In the laboratory, this can be modeled by encapsulated polymerases prepared as liposomes. By an appropriate choice of lipids, the permeability properties of the liposomes can be adjusted so that ionic substrates permeate at a sufficient rate to provide a source of monomers for the enzymes, with the result that nucleic acids accumulate in the vesicles. Despite this progress, there is still no clear mechanism by which the free energy of light, ion gradients, or redox potential can be coupled to polymer bond formation in a protocellular structure." (Deamer, D.W., "The first living systems: a bioenergetic perspective," Microbiology & Molecular Biology Reviews, Vol 61, No. 2, June 6, 1997, pp.239-261) 26/08/2006 "The science which shows us evolution actually at work-paleontology should be able to contribute important information. A large body of facts is available, but there is no unanimity in its interpretation. The facts of greatest general importance are the following. When a new phylum, class, or order appears, there follows a quick, explosive (in terms of geological time) diversification so that practically all orders or families known appear suddenly and without any apparent transitions. Afterwards, a slow evolution follows; this frequently has the appearance of a gradual change, step by step, though down to the generic level abrupt major steps without transitions occur. At the end of such a series, a kind of evolutionary running-wild frequently is observed. Giant forms appear, and odd or pathological types of different kinds precede the extinction of such a line. Moreover, within the slowly evolving series, like the famous horse series, the decisive steps are abrupt, without transition: for example, the choice of the middle finger for further transformation, as opposed to the two middle fingers, in the evolution of the artiodactyls; or the sudden transition from the four-toed to the three-toed foot with predominance of the third ray." (Goldschmidt, R.B., "Evolution, as Viewed by One Geneticist," American Scientist, Vol. 40, January 1952, pp.84-98, p.97) 27/08/2006 "The most ordinary-looking migratory birds turn out to have onboard navigational systems that rival those of modern airliners in sophistication ... For decades, scientists believed that even for the most complex journeys, birds relied on the biological equivalent of a pocket guidebook. But a rash of recent discoveries suggests that birds have navigational systems nearly as sophisticated as those of modern airliners. To get a fix on direction and position, they process multiple inputs from the stars, the Sun, visible landmarks, and even the Earth's magnetic field ..." (Pool, R., "Is it a plane? Is it a bird?," New Scientist, 9 November 1996, p.29, pp.29-32) 27/08/2006 "I've written a little parody of the prologue of the gospel of John to indicate the dominant cultural belief of our time. It goes like this: `In the beginning were the particles. And the particles somehow became complex living stuff. And the stuff imagined God, but then discovered evolution.' Here again you have in a few words a lot of profound learning. `In the beginning were the particles.' John Searle will tell you this. He says that if you want to be taken seriously in the academic world today, then there are two things you just have to admit, that you have to agree to, to get a ticket of admission. You're outside the conversation if you don't. One of them is that the world consists entirely of particles, the things that physicists study. This is a philosophy that's sometimes called materialism; the correct philosophical term is physicalism, because particles make up both matter and energy. That's physicalism. Naturalism, another term, means nature is all there is; nature is made of particles, and everything else just comes from the particles. `In the beginning were the particles.' No mind, just particles and impersonal laws of physics and chemistry. And by some combination of chance and these physical laws, the particles somehow became complex living stuff. This is skipping rapidly over a lot of cosmic history, of course, to get to the main point, that the particles become complex living stuff by a purely natural mechanism. `And the stuff imagined God ...' Now we get to a key point. See, it's not `In the beginning was the Word,' not `in the beginning God created,' not `God created man,' but rather, `man created God.' The complex stuff imagined God, because, having evolved from the primeval ooze of chemicals and lacking scientific knowledge, primitive human beings imagined a father figure in the sky, the only good story they knew, and credited that with their creation." (Johnson, P.E., "In the Beginning Were the Particles," Lecture at Grace Valley Christian Center, March 5, 2000) 27/08/2006 "If I were convinced that I required such additions to the theory of natural selection, I would reject it as rubbish, but I have firm faith in it, as I cannot believe, that if false, it would explain so many whole classes of facts, which, if I am in my senses, it seems to explain. ... I would give absolutely nothing for the theory of Natural Selection, if it requires miraculous additions at any one stage of descent." (Darwin, C.R., Letter to C. Lyell, October 11, 1859, in Darwin F., ed., "The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin," , Basic Books: New York NY, Vol. II., 1959, reprint, pp.6-7) 27/08/2006 "As far as I understand your remarks and illustrations, you doubt the possibility of gradations of intellectual powers. Now, it seems to me, looking to existing animals alone, that we have a very fine gradation in the intellectual powers of the Vertebrata, with one rather wide gap (not half so wide as in many cases of corporeal structure), between say a Hottentot and an Ourang, even if civilised as much mentally as the dog has been from the wolf. I suppose that you do not doubt that the intellectual powers are as important for the welfare of each being as corporeal structure; if so, I can see no difficulty in the most intellectual individuals of a species being continually selected; and the intellect of the new species thus improved, aided probably by effects of inherited mental exercise. I look at this process as now going on with the races of man ; the less intellectual races being exterminated. But there is not space to discuss this point. If I understand you, the turning-point in our difference must be, that you think it impossible that the intellectual. powers of a species should be much improved by the continued natural selection of the most intellectual individuals. To show how minds graduate, just reflect how impossible every one has yet found it, to define the difference in mind of man and the lower animals ; the latter seem to have the very same attributes in a much lower stage of perfection than the lowest savage." (Darwin, C.R., Letter to C. Lyell, October 11, 1859, in Darwin F., ed., "The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin," , Basic Books: New York NY, Vol. II., 1959, reprint, p.7) 29/08/2006 "Following a speech to a fundamentalist coalition in Dallas in 1980, then Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan held a press conference at which he was asked if he thought the theory of evolution should be taught in public schools. He replied, `Well, it's a theory, it is a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science and is not yet believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was believed. But if it was going to be taught in the schools, then I think that also the biblical theory of creation, which is not a theory but the biblical story of creation, should also be taught' ([Holden, C., "Republican Candidate Picks Fight with Darwin,"] Science, 1980, 209: 1214). One must wonder where the President got his scientific advice. Here is ignorance (and pragmatic politics) celebrated at the highest level through an anti-intellectual appeal to a voting constituency." (Berra, T.M., "Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: A Basic Guide to the Facts in the Evolution Debate," Stanford University Press: Stanford CA, 1990, pp.122-123) 29/08/2006 "When Ronald Reagan injected creationism into the 1980 presidential campaign, he took a familiar route. Referring to evolution, he told reporters (after speaking to a group of fundamentalists in Dallas, Texas) : `Well, it is a theory, a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science and is not yet believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was believed.' Beyond the fascinating commingling, of politics, religion, and science, Reagan's remark picked up a standard creationist ploy when he said that evolution is `a theory, a scientific theory only.' And it is true that most of us use the word `theory' to mean some tentative, sketchy notion about why or how something happened. All of us, for instance, have our own `theory' on how and why Reagan was elected, why the oil companies really have been raising prices, and why inflation has been so bad in recent years. This is standard usage. But creationists, including some who claim bona fide scientific credentials, have exploited the vernacular connotation of the word `theory,' in effect saying that scientists use `theory' in precisely the same way. Thus, if evolution is only a theory, our confidence in it ought to be less than if it were, say, a `fact.' `Theories' turn into `hare-brained ideas' with ease. `Theory' is a badword: to call an idea a theory is to impugn its credibility." (Eldredge, N., "The Monkey Business: A Scientist Looks at Creationism," Washington Square: New York NY, 1982, pp.28-29) 29/08/2006 "Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980 with the considerable help of antievolution activist groups (see Conway and Siegelman 1982). `I have a great many questions about [evolution],' he said during his campaign. `I think that recent discoveries down through the years have pointed up great flaws in it' (Science 1980). Antievolutionism has deep roots in American society." (Cole, J.R., "Scopes and Beyond: Antievolutionism and American Culture" in Godfrey L.R., ed., "Scientists Confront Creationism," W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, 1983, pp.13-14) 29/08/2006 "Speaking to an evangelical group in Dallas, Texas, President Ronald Reagan gave this opinion: `Well, it is a theory. It is a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science-that is, not believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was.' (Gould, S.J., "Evolution as Fact and Theory," DiscoverVol. 2, No. 5, May 1981, pp.34-37, p.34] The disagreement is not restricted to contrary students and professors or admitted anti-intellectuals. Among vocal `authorities,' the issue has been kept alive by Stephen Jay Gould's recent paper `Evolution as Fact and Theory' [Ibid., pp.34-37] and Duane Gish's creationist response. [Gish, D.T., "Evolution as Fact and Theory," DiscoverVol. 2, No. 7, July 1981] (Kline, A.D., "Theories, Facts, and Gods: Philosophical Aspects of the Creation -Evolution Controversy," 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, pp.37-38) 29/08/2006 "[Evolution is] theory only. In recent years it has been challenged in the world of science. If evolutionary theory is going to be taught in the schools, then I would think that also the biblical theory of creation, which is not a theory but the biblical story of creation, should also be taught. -Ronald Reagan, on the campaign trail in Dallas, 1980" (Kottler, M.J., "Evolution: Fact? Theory? ... or just a Theory?," in Zetterberg, J.P., ed., "Evolution Versus Creationism: The Public Education Controversy," Oryx Press: Phoenix AZ, 1983, p.29. Emphasis original) 29/08/2006 "Creation and Evolution All of this is well and good, one might say, but is it not ultimately disproved by our scientific knowledge of how the human being evolved from the animal kingdom? Now, more reflective spirits have long been aware that there is no either-or here. We cannot say: creation or evolution, inasmuch as these two things respond to two different realities. The story of the dust of the earth and the breath of God, which we just heard, does not in fact explain how human persons come to be but rather what they are. It explains their inmost origin and casts light on the project that they are. And, vice versa, the theory of evolution seeks to understand and describe biological developments. But in so doing it cannot explain where the "project" of human persons comes from, nor their inner origin, nor their particular nature. To that extent we are faced here with two complementary - rather than mutually exclusive - realities." (Ratzinger, J., "`In the Beginning ...': A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall," Ramsay, B., transl., Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, 1995, p.50. Emphasis original) 29/08/2006 "Now let us go directly to the question of evolution and its mechanisms. Microbiology and biochemistry have brought revolutionary insights here. They are constantly penetrating deeper into the inmost mysteries of life, attempting to decode its secret language and to understand what life really is. In so doing they have brought us to the awareness that an organism and a machine have many points in common. For both of them realize a project, a thought-out and considered plan, which is itself coherent and logical. Their functioning presupposes a precisely thought-through and therefore reasonable design. But in addition to this commonality there are also differences. A first and somewhat unimportant one may be described as follows: An organism is incomparably smarter and more daring than the most sophisticated machines. They are dully planned and constructed in comparison with an organism. A second difference goes deeper: An organism moves itself from within, unlike a machine, which must be operated by someone from without. And finally there is a third difference: An organism has the power to reproduce itself; it can renew and continue the project that it itself is. In other words, it has the ability to propagate itself and to bring into existence another living and coherent being like itself." (Ratzinger, J., "`In the Beginning ...': A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall," Ramsay, B., transl., Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, 1995, pp.54-55. Emphasis original) 29/08/2006 "It is the affair of the natural sciences to explain how the tree of life in particular continues to grow and how new branches shoot out from it. This is not a matter for faith. But we must have the audacity to say that the great projects of the living creation are not the products of chance and error. Nor are they the products of a selective process to which divine predicates can be attributed in illogical, unscientific, and even mythic fashion. The great projects of the living creation point to a creating Reason and show us a creating Intelligence, and they do so more luminously and radiantly today than ever before. Thus we can say today with a new certitude and joyousness that the human being is indeed a divine project, which only the creating Intelligence was strong and great and audacious enough to conceive of. Human beings are not a mistake but something willed; they are the fruit of love. They can disclose in themselves, in the bold project that they are, the language of the creating Intelligence that speaks to them and that moves them to say: Yes, Father, you have willed me." (Ratzinger, J., "`In the Beginning ...': A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall," Ramsay, B., transl., Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, 1995, pp.56-57) 30/08/2006 "If we extract chlorophyll from plant tissues in pure form and supply it, in the test tube, with carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight, we will find that photosynthesis will not take place. Even if we throw in the carotenes and any other pure substances we find in plant cells, it will not help. Apparently, within plant tissue, chlorophyll is part of an intricate and well-organized mechanism that acts as a smoothly-working whole to carry through a photosynthetic process that includes many steps. Chlorophyll makes the key step possible and without it nothing can happen, but the key step, by itself, is not enough. (To draw an analogy from the more familiar world of the automobile-the ignition key sets in motion a whole series of events in the complicated automotive mechanism and starts you moving over the road at a rapid rate of speed. However, if all you have is an ignition key and nothing else, it won't get you moving even if you sit down on the road and pile a heap of loose automobile parts all about yourself.)" (Asimov, I., "Photosynthesis," George Allen & Unwin: London, 1970, p.53) 30/08/2006 "And what about an organelle to handle the photosynthetic half of the carbon cycle. This would have to contain chlorophyll and would, therefore, be green. Naturally, if an organelle is already colored, it does not have to be dyed. It can be seen directly. As soon, then, as the ordinary microscope had been refined to the point where tiny bodies within the cell could be seen, at least as dots, it became possible to tell whether chlorophyll was spread evenly throughout the cell or was concentrated within organelles. The latter was the case and, in 1883, Julius Sachs demonstrated that. Eventually, these chlorophyll-containing organelles were named `chloroplasts.' ... The structure of the chloroplast seems to be even more complex than that of the mitochondrion. The interior of the chloroplast is made up of many thin membranes stretching across from wall to wall. These are the `lamellae.' In most types of chloroplasts, these lamellae thicken and darken in places to make dark condensations called `grana.' The chlorophyll molecules are to be found within the grana. If the lamellae within the grana are studied under the electron microscope, they, in turn, seem to be made up of tiny units, just barely visible, that look like the neatly laid tiles of a bathroom floor. Each of these objects may be a photosynthesizing unit containing 250 to 300 chlorophyll molecules. It was not until 1954, that Daniel I. Arnon, working with disrupted spinach leaf cells, was able to obtain chloroplasts completely intact and able to carry through the complete photosynthetic reaction. The chloroplast-thus shown finally to be a self-contained photosynthetic unit--contains the complete assembly-line for the purpose within itself. It contains not only chlorophyll and carotenoids, but a full complement of enzymes, coenzymes and activators as well, all properly and intricately arranged. It even contains cytochromes, ordinarily associated with respiration, but present in the chloroplast for, as we shall see, good and sufficient reason. (In view of all this, it is no wonder that chlorophyll by itself cannot carry through photosynthesis.)" (Asimov, I., "Photosynthesis," George Allen & Unwin: London, 1970, pp.56-57) 30/08/2006 "Certain magnesium-porphyrins would form with the capacity for making use of the energy of visible light for the building up of complex compounds from simple ones-a primitive form of photosynthesis. These magnesiumporphyrins, constantly being ingested by cells, must, on at least one occasion, have remained to be incorporated into the cellular structure. Even the inefficient use of visible light in the first magnesium- porphyrin cells must have given them a tremendous advantage over ordinary cells at a time when the ultraviolet light was slowly being shut off. In the end, all our photosynthesizing cells may have originated from a single original, which may have been analogous to what we call, today, a chloroplast. Signs of that original chloroplast remain. There are two thousand species of a group of one-celled photosynthesizing organisms called `blue-green algae.' (They are not all blue-green, but the first ones studied were.) These are very simple cells, rather bacteria-like in structure, except that they contain chlorophyll and bacteria do not. Blue-green algae might almost be viewed as single, rather large, chloroplasts, and they may be the simplest descendants of the original chloroplast. ... It may be, then, that along with the simple chloroplasts and mitochondria formed in the slowly oxygenating seas, there would be certain large anaerobic cells, too. If the latter ingested the former and retained them, we would have the `modern cell' of today. And if such a scheme is valid, depending as it does on random processes, why could it not happen on planets other than the Earth? It would seem that on any planet that is sufficiently Earth-like in properties and in chemistry, life would be bound to form. According to some estimates ... there may be as many as 640,000,000 Earth-like planets in our own Galaxy alone. What precise form such life might take we cannot say, but the thought that it may exist there at all is an exciting one. The difficulties of exploration beyond the solar system are enormous, but the rewards in terms of knowledge are enormous, too. Perhaps some day-some far-distant day-men will get out there to see." (Asimov, I., "Photosynthesis," George Allen & Unwin: London, 1970, pp.185-187)
* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed not to be evolutionists. However, lack of an
asterisk does not necessarily mean that an author is an evolutionist.
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Created: 30 March, 2006. Updated: 10 April, 2010.