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The following are quotes added to my Unclassified Quotes database in February 2007 (1). The date format is dd/mm/yy.
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[Index: Jan, Feb (2); Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec]
1/02/2007 "Arrhenius (1908) proposed that spores had been driven here by the pressure of the light from the central star of another planetary system. His theory is known as Panspermia. Kelvin suggested that the first organisms reached the Earth in a meteorite. Neither of these theories is absurd, but both can be subjected to severe criticism. Sagan (Shklovski and Sagan, 1966; Sagan and Whitehall, 1973) has shown that any known type of radiation resistant spore would receive so large a dose of radiation during its journey to the Earth from another Solar System that it would be extremely unlikely to remain viable. The probability that sufficiently massive objects escape from a Solar System and arrive on the planet of another one is considered to be so small that it is unlikely that a single meteorite of extrasolar origin has ever reached the surface of the Earth (Sagan, private communication)." (Crick, F.H.C. & Orgel, L.E., "Directed Panspermia," Icarus, Vol. 19, 1973, pp.341-346, p.342. Emphasis original) 1/02/2007 "The local galactic system is estimated to be about 13 x 109 yr old (See Metz, 1972), The first generation of stars, because they were formed from light elements, are unlikely to have been accompanied by planets. However, some second generation stars not unlike the Sun must have formed within 2 x 109 yr of the origin of the galaxy (Blaauw and Schmidt, 1965). Thus it is quite probable that planets not unlike the Earth existed as much as 6.5 x 109 yr before the formation of our own Solar System. We know that not much more than 4 x 109 yr elapsed between the appearance of life on the Earth (wherever it came from) and the development of our own technological society. The time available makes it possible, therefore, that technological societies existed elsewhere in the galaxy even before the formation of the Earth. We should, therefore, consider a new "infective" theory, namely that a primitive form of life was deliberately planted on the Earth by a technologically advanced society on another planet." (Crick, F.H.C. & Orgel, L.E., "Directed Panspermia," Icarus, Vol. 19, 1973, pp.341-346, p.342. Emphasis original) 2/02/2007 "We now have no difficulty in seeing how amino acids, nucleotides, sugars and the like could arise. It is more of a problem to understand how they could become aggregated so as to form the first living cell." (Sneath, P.H.A., "Planets and Life," The World of Science Library, Thames & Hudson: London, 1970, p.78) 2/02/2007 "We cannot tell whether life originated once (in one particular coacervate or clay particle) or whether the same steps were being repeated all through the early seas and pools. But at some stage the power to multiply arose, probably in the form of a nucleic-acid chain similar to those we know today, and presumably using something very like the present genetic code. One would then expect the most successful eobionts to multiply and over-run any other incipient organisms. At this stage metabolism would depend on energy provided by the organic molecules which the eobionts decomposed anaerobically. These eobionts, between 3,000- and 4,000-million years ago, might have been something like bacteria, though lacking many features of present-day bacteria. They would possess a cell membrane, within which would be enzymes and nucleic acids. They would use as building blocks the preformed amino acids and nucleotides which were dissolved in the seas. As time went on, and some building blocks became scarce, these eobionts would have to develop processes for making them from other organic molecules, or else would have to adapt to use substitutes. Natural selection would act to perpetuate the most successful forms, and evolution would begin." (Sneath, P.H.A., "Planets and Life," The World of Science Library, Thames & Hudson: London, 1970, p.80) 2/02/2007 "These eobionts presumably possessed three major attributes. They had self-copying nucleic acids, they had enzymes, and they had a membrane. In what order did these arise? This is, of course, just speculation, but it seems most likely that they arose in the order given above. The copying mechanism came first, because it is this that defines the continuity of structure which is implied when we say it came first. The nucleic acids then acquired the power to absorb amino acids and form them into proteins, while the membrane was then evolved to stabilize the whole. Recently, however, it has been plausibly suggested that the first nucleic acids formed on a protein chain (which may not have been an enzyme in the usual sense), so that one could envisage an early period when the self-copying molecules were a complex of nucleic acid and protein." (Sneath, P.H.A., "Planets and Life," The World of Science Library, Thames & Hudson: London, 1970, p.80) 2/02/2007 "There is much discussion at present on how the genetic code originated. The third base of the nucleotide triplets ... usually does not alter the amino acid that is coded for, and this suggests that in eobionts the first two letters only were read, and that the third was utilized later to distinguish certain pairs of amino acids. The eobionts may well have had a limited repertoire of amino acids. But it seems rather unlikely that the original code consisted of twin letters only, because of the difficulty of changing from a twin to a triplet code. But whether the first code contained only adenine and thymine, or only guanine and cytosine, no one knows." (Sneath, P.H.A., "Planets and Life," The World of Science Library, Thames & Hudson: London, 1970, p.81) 2/02/2007 "The other alternative was most convincingly advocated by the great Swedish chemist S. Arrhenius, who called it the panspermia hypothesis. Arrhenius suggested that life arrived on the earth in the form of germs such as the spores of micro-organisms, and that these had been carried across the depths of space from elsewhere in the universe, propelled by the weak but continued pressure that is exerted by light rays on minute particles. ... Arrhenius showed theoretically that light pressure would be able to move small particles over very great distances. He also showed that violent volcanic eruptions might carry such particles into the stratosphere, from whence they might be driven into interplanetary space. He calculated that particles might reach the nearest stars, the Alpha-Centauri group, in some thousands of years. However, larger particles would tend to fall by gravitation into the sun. Arrhenius thought that the earth may have received its first life from spores transported from planets elsewhere in the universe, and believed that the extreme cold of outer space would not cause them to perish during their journey, nor would the transient heating as they entered the earth's atmosphere. Indeed there are many plausible arguments in the panspermia theory, and the astronomer Carl Sagan of Harvard University has re-examined many of these points. A spore of diameter 0.4 to 1.2 microns (1 micron = 1/1000th of a millimetre) is of the right size to be pushed out from the solar system by the sun's light. It would reach the orbit of Mars within a few weeks, and the nearest stars, as Arrhenius said, in some tens of thousands of years. A spore rather larger than this would be attracted to the sun (because for it the gravitational pull would be greater than the radiation pressure), and might hit the earth en route. Spores of quite a variety of sizes could be expelled from other planetary systems, depending on the mass and brightness of their suns. In outer space bacterial spores might survive for thousands or even millions of years, provided they had some protection against ionizing radiation, such as might be afforded by adsorbed dust particles. The most serious difficulty is that of space itself. Space is so vast that even if cubic miles of spores were liberated in it they would become so dispersed in the enormous volumes of space that there would be little chance that a planet such as the earth would ever capture any of them. In any case the great majority would be burned up by the stars or in hot gas clouds. Such calculations are necessarily speculative, but they would make it seem very improbable that life could have reached the earth from elsewhere. There may, however, be some possibility of transport from the earth to other planets in the solar system. Thomas Gold has suggested an alternative method of transport: the earth may once have been visited by an expedition from some advanced civilization elsewhere in our galaxy, and microbes may have been left behind!" (Sneath, P.H.A., "Planets and Life," The World of Science Library, Thames & Hudson: London, 1970, pp.74-75) 2/02/2007 "It now seems unlikely that extraterrestrial living organisms could have reached the earth either as spores driven by the radiation pressure from another star or as living organisms imbedded in a meteorite. As an alternative to these nineteenth-century mechanisms, we have considered Directed Panspermia, the theory that organisms were deliberately transmitted to the earth by intelligent beings on another planet. We conclude that it is possible that life reached the earth in this way, but that the scientific evidence is inadequate at the present time to say anything about the probability. We draw attention to the kinds of evidence that might throw additional light on the topic." (Crick, F.H.C. & Orgel, L.E., "Directed Panspermia," Icarus, Vol. 19, 1973, pp.341-346, p.341) 2/02/2007 "We've discussed the Circumstellar Habitable Zone in our Solar System and the larger-scale Galactic Habitable Zone. But there's a still larger-scale framework, which we can call the Cosmic Habitable Age (CHA). When we consider the universal properties of the observable universe, age is more basic than location. Not all places and times around a star or within a spiral galaxy are equally habitable. Similarly, not all ages of the universe are equally habitable. This is obvious in the very early universe prior to decoupling. At that epoch the universe was a dense, hot plasma of elementary particles and light nuclei. Stars had not yet synthesized the heavy elements that make up our bodies. It was a dreadfully hostile environment for life of any sort. But the beginning is not the only no-man's land. If we think of everything an environment needs to support life, especially complex life, then, cosmically speaking, probably only a fairly short period in the history of the universe is habitable. The life-essential elements heavier than helium weren't present in the universe until they were made in the first stars and then ejected from their interiors. The first generation of stars began seeding their environment perhaps a few hundred million years after the beginning of cosmic time. The life-essential elements concentrated more quickly in the larger galaxies, especially in their inner regions. So even if some stars had Earth-size planets only a few billion years after the beginning, they would have been stranded in the most dangerous neighborhoods. Unlike our present, the early universe was poor in heavy elements and rich in high-energy quasars, star births, and supernovae. Early-forming planets in the inner regions of galaxies would have been bathed in lethal levels of gamma ray, X-ray, and particle radiation. ... In short, the universe has been getting more habitable." (Gonzalez, G.* & Richards, J.W.*, "The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed For Discovery," Regnery: Washington DC, 2004, pp.181- 182) 2/02/2007 "As we gaze out into the distant universe, we now know we are peering back in time to an epoch close to the Big Bang event. We're inclined to marvel at the scientific ingenuity that has allowed us to decode such information. But we shouldn't forget the remarkable conditions necessary for such ingenuity. Our location in the Milky Way allows us to view the distant universe and also the many different kinds of nearby stars, a prerequisite for understanding other galaxies. But for scientific discovery, time may be as important as location at the largest scales. Hypothetical and bizarrely hearty residents of the early universe-say, a billion years or two billion after the beginning-would have had a front row seat to a spectacular fireworks display of nearby supernovae and quasars, their central black hole engines fed by abundant gas falling in toward their deep gravity wells. The Hubble Deep Fields reveal a young universe filled with distorted galaxies, disturbing one another through close encounters. Partly as a result, the intense heating from the many massive stars and supernovae bequeaths to the galactic dust a bright and sometimes beautiful glow. So when most of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy formed, hot dust blocked the view of the distant universe. If they could have existed, early cosmic residents might have enjoyed the show. But they wouldn't have seen far beyond it." (Gonzalez, G.* & Richards, J.W.*, "The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed For Discovery," Regnery: Washington DC, 2004, pp.185-186) 3/02/2007 "Organic material was regarded until the nineteenth century as stuff produced solely by living organisms. Inorganic material, on the other hand, was the stuff of the non-living world. Because the two were regarded as distinct, it was argued that life cannot be produced from non-life, and so life must have been created as such deliberately by a creator. This doctrine of 'vitalism' is said in writings on the history of chemistry to have been destroyed by Friedrich Wohler in 1828. Wohler synthesized urea, a principal component of urine, from ammonium cyanate. At the time, urea was regarded as organic because of its presence in the excretion products of animals, while everybody accepted that ammonium cyanate was inorganic. So here was a supposed counterexample, proving, it was said, that organic material can indeed be made from inorganic material. Exit vitalism, to the delight of its many opponents. To begin with, the case against vitalism seemed reasonably argued, but with the discovery of bacteria ... the situation darkened perceptibly. The ammonium radical in the ammonium cyanate used by Wohler in his preparation of urea came from some naturally occurring deposit of an ammonium salt. But where had such a deposit come from? And in particular, where had the nitrogen in the ammonium radical come from? With the application of chemistry to agriculture becoming of greater and greater relevance to society, it eventually emerged that nitrogen in the atmosphere is the source of nitrogen in the soil, and that it is the growth of certain kinds of plant (e.g. peas and beans) that causes this change of venue for the nitrogen. Nitrogen passes from air to ground through the action of plants, not through the action of inorganic processes (except possibly in very small quantities: for example, small quantities of nitrogen oxides might be produced in lightning flashes and become subsequently washed out of the air into the soil). When plants responsible for this so-called fixing of nitrogen die, their remains are acted on by bacteria, and the ammonium radical is produced as a by-product. Hence deposits of ammonium salts in the soil are overwhelmingly the result of the action of denitrifying bacteria, and the ammonium cyanate used by Wohler was therefore almost surely of biological origin. The supposed preparation of an organic material from an inorganic one was therefore an illusion, for the supposed inorganic material was not truly inorganic: it had a biological and therefore an organic source. Wohler had used a material with an organic origin to prepare another organic material, which was not what the anti- vitalistic argument had claimed. Seen in broader perspective, life had been used to make the ammonium cyanate, and there was nothing anti-vitalistic in that because the intervention of biological organisms was just what the vitalists had always claimed to be necessary. When these further facts eventually came to light, chemists and biologists did not review the matter as they should have done. They did not apologize to the vitalists for a mistake which began inadvertently, but which by the end of the nineteenth century had become quite distinctly deliberate. The deliberate mistake continues to this day. Every chemistry student is still given the wrong interpretation of Wohler's experiment. This is an example of the illusions and dogmas in the education system ..." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Our Place in the Cosmos: The Unfinished Revolution," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 1996, pp.25-26) 3/02/2007 "By following trains of thought such as these, it can be shown that the old vitalistic doctrine is very nearly true. No way has yet been found for converting truly inorganic materials to organic ones in anything other than trace quantities without the intervention of living organisms. When this does happen, enormous amounts of organic material can be produced, at great speed in favourable conditions. The prospects for converting inorganic materials to organic appear to be worse in space than on the Earth, because inorganic catalysts which on Earth have to be prepared with the greatest care would be quickly poisoned under astronomical conditions by corrosive gases by sulphur compounds in particular. In space, pressures are low, while in the atmospheres of planets like Jupiter and Saturn temperature are low, causing inorganic reactions to be slowed to a crawl." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Our Place in the Cosmos: The Unfinished Revolution," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 1996, p.27. Emphasis original) 3/02/2007 "These remarks provide the background to the rest of this chapter which examines the all-important question of how, according to present scientific lore, life is supposed to have begun. Let us first see how the case is usually presented, before we come to the holes in the argument. In 1952-3 Stanley Miller and Harold Urey performed an experiment which seemed at the time to support the idea that life could have originated gradually from inorganic chemical substances The experiment was based on a recreation of the physical condition that were supposed to have prevailed on the newly formed Earth about 4 billion years ago. It was thought that an atmosphere existed that would be poisonous to most modern life-forms: methane, ammonia, carbon monoxide and dioxide, nitrogen and possible hydrogen cyanide, together with an ample supply of water. Conditions were taken to be highly disturbed, with frequent huge electrical storms and much volcanic activity. In the experiment, high-voltage sparks were passed through d mixture of gases representing the supposed early terrestrial atmosphere, often for many days at a time. The results were widely applauded as demonstrating almost beyond doubt the answer to the question of the origin of life. Many organic life-associated molecules were found in the resultant 'soup', among which were two basic biochemical building blocks: amino acids - the constituents of proteins - and nitrogenous bases, constituents of DNA. This first experiment was followed by others, and by now a large number of different organic molecules have been obtained. In the Earth's early oceans and lakes these molecules would have accumulated, it is argued, because there were no living organisms to consume them. The oceans would have been brimming with complex organic molecules, with about a third of the concentration found in chicken broth, whence the term 'organic soup'. All this is dreadfully wrong, however. The methane used by Urey and Miller was almost surely obtained from natural gas, and so was of biological origin. The ammonia was also of suspect origin, just as it was in Wohler's experiment. So what was actually done was to start with biomaterials and from them produce other biomaterials, a far less impressive outcome than it seemed at the time. If Urey and Miller, and their successors, had used only materials that were genuinely inorganic in the terrestrial context and had obtained similar results, the achievement would have been more impressive. The correct materials to use would have been water, nitrogen, and carbon monoxide and dioxide, for the reason that these substances might have occurred quite naturally on the early Earth before the onset of biological processes." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Our Place in the Cosmos: The Unfinished Revolution," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 1996, pp.27-28. Emphasis original) 3/02/2007 "We have serious doubts, moreover, even about the claim to have produced high concentrations of life- associated molecules, a claim made in our view without adequate documentation by later investigators. What we think happened was the following. Suppose one thinks of a long experiment divided into many episodes. In each episode a small amount of life-associated material is produced extracted and set aside, so being protected from the destructive effect of high-voltage sparks occurring in subsequent episodes. Such a procedure, given enough episodes, might well produce the claimed high concentration, but under conditions without relevance to a natural state of affairs, where life-associated molecules would break up as fast as they were produced. It is precisely their inherent lack of stability, compared with water, nitrogen and carbon monoxide, which gives such molecules their life-associated properties. Deliberately setting aside the organic molecules, protecting them from disruption, would be a deception. It would be equivalent to what in physics is called introducing Maxwell's demon. Maxwell's demon is like Aladdin's genie. Given Maxwell's demon, almost anything becomes possible - like making one half of an ice-cold room grow hot without supplying heat or energy from outside the room." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Our Place in the Cosmos: The Unfinished Revolution," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 1996, pp.28-29) 3/02/2007 "Deceptions in science come in two forms: overt and inadvertent; another name for overt deception is of course cheating. Deceptions often begin as inadvertent and then later become overt. It was inadvertent that Urey and Miller did not realize the essence of life to be its structure, not its building blocks. It is the precision arrangements of different amino acids in long chains that is the big issue. To take just one example, the protein histone-4 has essentially the same chain of 102 amino acids in all life-forms. If you had random shots at assembling this particular chain from a supply of individual amino acids to suit yourself- one shot for every atom in every star in every galaxy visible in the largest telescopes, your chance of successfully finding histone-4 would be like backing a horse at odds of 5 x 10132 (that is, 5 followed by 132 zeros) to 1 against [sic. 20102 = 10132], and histone-4 is just one of very many critical proteins. In 1952-3 the science of microbiology was still in its infancy, and so Urey and Miller knew nothing of the real heart of the problem of the origin of life when they carried out their first experiment. Consequently, seemed exciting to find some of the building blocks of life emerging from that experiment. Today, almost half a century on, so much is known about the structures of complex biomolecules like histone-4, and the essence of life can be seen to lie in the many remarkable properties which arise from the arrangements the basic building blocks, which themselves can be quite simple." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Our Place in the Cosmos: The Unfinished Revolution," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 1996, pp.29-30) 3/02/2007 "... the essence of life can be seen to lie in the many remarkable properties which arise from the arrangements the basic building blocks, which themselves can be quite simple. This is distinctively the case for sugars and their derivatives. Carbon monoxide and hydrogen are the two commonest molecules in the Universe. Combine one of each and you have a molecule of formaldehyde, possessing only a very slight measure of stability against splitting apart into carbon monoxide and hydrogen, a property with astonishing consequences. It is just because the normal human stance is upright, in a position with little stability, that an expert human skier can ski a downhill race on an uneven snow-covered mountain side. The horse stands in a very stable position, but fit four skis to the hooves of a horse and set it off on the same downhill run...it would be hopeless! The same is true for molecules. Because molecules near the margin of stability can go in many directions, remarkable things can happen Liquid formaldehyde is somewhat unpleasant stuff in which biological specimens are often preserved. But take a number of formaldehyde molecules, usually five or six, join them together with a few interchanges of atoms, and you have a sugar, the sweet stuff of chocolate. Still more remarkable, carrying out the joining and interchange processes in various ways will produce all the sugars, including the particular case of ribose. A derivative of ribose deoxyribose-is what the D stands for in DNA. So here is another building block of life, a block that when analysed into smaller components can be seen to be a product of the commonest molecules in the Universe. Joining similar sugar molecules with linking oxygen atoms produces the class of substances known as carbohydrates, with different sugar molecules giving different carbohydrates. One gives starch, the basic foodstuff of much of animal life. Another gives cellulose, which plays a critical role in giving mechanical strength to plants permitting trees to grow to heights of a hundred metres and more, and providing the wood without which most man-made buildings would look very bare. Joining sugars via nitrogen-atom links yields yet another class of substances, including the hard material of a lobster shell and the beaks of birds." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Our Place in the Cosmos: The Unfinished Revolution," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 1996, p.30) 3/02/2007 "Only six of the chemical elements play major parts in the basic structures of living organisms: hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur. Pairs of sulphur atoms join in a strong disulphide bond, and it is these bonds, often situated at widely separated places in the chain of amino acids forming a protein, that give a comparative rigidity to the characteristic shape into which a protein curls, a characteristic shape that is crucial to its biochemical properties. Disulphide bonds in a protein have to be just right if the protein is to behave in an interesting way, serving as a catalyst (far more effectively than man-made catalysts) in a biochemical process which may be crucial to life. There are thousands of examples of proteins crucial to life, each one depending on shapes which have to be just right. Phosphorus plays a role in DNA somewhat similar to that of sulphur in proteins. Together with oxygen, phosphorus links the deoxyribose molecules into a structure whose shape is crucial, the famous double helix. But it is not just a question of obtaining any old double helix: the two component helices have to be correctly positioned with respect to each other so as to permit only one set of ties and their matching counterparts to join them. If linking ties could occur higgledy-piggledy, DNA could not carry information, and there would be no genetic code - just as there could be no information in writing, if the letters of the alphabet were sprayed around higgledy-piggledy. Phosphorus plays a critical role in ensuring that this does not happen." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Our Place in the Cosmos: The Unfinished Revolution," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 1996, p.31) 3/02/2007 "In addition to the six main chemical elements of life, there are 16 others which are present in living systems in smaller quantities, minor factors who nevertheless are important to the play during the moments they are on stage. Magnesium atoms, each held individually between six nitrogen atoms in the green substance chlorophyll, builds sugar molecules by photosynthesis. This is a device for going against the thermodynamic tendency of a chemical system to seek its lowest energy level, which necessarily applies to systems wholly at terrestrial temperature, say 25°C. The trick is to use light from the Sun, a source with a temperature of about 5500°C, thereby standing ordinary thermodynamics for 25°C on its head. By synthesizing sugars a potential source of energy is created, a source that is subsequently used in an inverse sense (sugars breaking down into their constituents), either by plants themselves or by animals that eat the plants. A similar arrangement with individual iron atoms, each held between four nitrogen atoms, provides the active centre of haemoglobin. The critical property again has reversibility, the reversibility of both storing and yielding a supply of oxygen, which again is used by animals in the release of energy. The element calcium plays a very different part, however. It is used to give strength to bones and, as calcium carbonate, to form the shells of many sea creatures. And so on for the other, often highly specialized activities of the remaining 13 elements."(Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Our Place in the Cosmos: The Unfinished Revolution," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 1996, pp.31-32) 3/02/2007 "Seen in retrospect, to have produced some of the building blocks of life in experiments of the Urey-Miller type was of no relevance to the origin of life, especially as some of the materials used in the experiments were already biological in origin, since no one doubts that life can give rise to life. The building blocks of life are commonplace. It is the structures to which they can give rise that are remarkable, and where the problem of the origin of life really lies. Not to have realized this in 1952-3 was understandable, but not to realize it today is inexcusable. Not to realize it today amounts to overt deception, at least on the part of research scientists who have ample time and opportunity to study the matter in depth. Students, on the other hand, can be excused, yet likely enough it will be from students that a general realization of the deceit will first come. The deceit has strong motivation. It is to avoid the question of whether the situation, as facts have uncovered it to be, can sensibly be regarded as accidental. Is it reasonable to suppose that the commonest elements should by chance alone have such a range of properties as have been determined from biochemical studies, as for instance in the properties of enzymes? Or is there a teleological component, a purposive component, even in the properties of the chemical elements, let alone in the origin and development of life? If so, we are instantly thrown into very deep waters indeed. The creationist exclaims forcibly, to the point of shouting, that there is indeed a purposive component, while the soi-disant [self-styled] respectable scientist shows, not by shouting but by tricks, that of course it is not so." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Our Place in the Cosmos: The Unfinished Revolution," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 1996, p.32) 3/02/2007 "A typical trick is the so-called anthropic principle - that if the situation is not exactly the way we find it we would not be here to discuss it. Therefore, remarkable as the accidents may look at first sight, our presence is a guarantee that they occurred. But our presence could just as well be a guarantee that life is purposive, planned. The situation is decidedly unproven, with the anthropic principle no more than a tautology." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Our Place in the Cosmos: The Unfinished Revolution," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 1996, pp.32-33) 3/02/2007 "Biological systems, on the other hand, have a crucially different mode of expansion. Instead of being linear, they are exponential in character - one makes two, two makes four, four makes eight, and so on. Biological expansion is explosive, becoming more and more extreme as it feeds on itself. Let us start with a single bacterium, and suppose that it and its progeny are supplied with suitable nutrients. A typical time for replication under favourable conditions would be two or three hours. In a day, the initial bacterium would have expanded by one makes two, two makes four ..., each step requiring two or three hours, into a colony of about 1000 bacteria, still much too small to be seen by the unaided eye. In two days the 1000 bacteria would become 1,000,000, a colony just visible to the eye, about a tenth of the diameter of a pinhead. In four days the original bacterium would have become 1,000,000,000,000 bacteria, together weighing about a gram. In five days the colony would be approaching a kilogram in weight. So it would proceed, with three zeros added to the numbers for every day that passed: a tonne after six days, 1000 tonnes after a week, the mass of Mount Everest after eleven days, that of the Earth after thirteen days, our galaxy after nineteen days, and the whole of the visible Universe in twenty-two days - roughly a three-week job, starting with the single bacterium." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Our Place in the Cosmos: The Unfinished Revolution," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 1996, p.35) 3/02/2007 "No problem exists about the mode of production of the organic matter, only about its location. We have to find the places where the environmental conditions favour explosive bacterial expansion. The places cannot be interstellar space, judging from the requirements for bacterial replication found here on the Earth. Either the presence of liquid water or an atmosphere with relative humidity above 60 per cent is usually found necessary for the replication of microorganisms (although diatoms have been reported to replicate in ice). The temperature range for replication appears to be typically from about minus 20°C to plus 80°C, although the presence of living bacteria at temperatures above 100°C in deep-sea `black smoker' chimneys associated with volcanic vents shows that the upper limit of temperature probably exceeds 80°C by a considerable margin under high pressures. A supply of suitable nutrients is of course also essential. Depending on the species of bacterium, nutrients can vary widely. It is the essential characteristic of a large class of so-called chemo-autotrophic bacteria that they replicate from inorganic substances alone. Indeed, one can say that wherever inorganic substances exist under natural conditions with the possibility of energy being obtained from them by a chemical reaction, then a bacterium exists to exploit the situation. This is provided the reaction occurs only very slowly under purely inorganic conditions. Otherwise the opportunity for bacteria would not exist, because the reaction would occur inorganically and the substances, the nutrients, would be gone. Chemo-autotrophic bacteria manage to exploit energy-producing reactions that are otherwise too slow to happen inorganically by nonbiological means. The trick is to speed up such reactions immensely by the use of extremely subtle catalysts, the proteins called enzymes. Granted that only a little energy is available, so little that inorganic reactions cannot unlock it, bacteria can live on almost anything, which they do through the amazing properties of proteins." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Our Place in the Cosmos: The Unfinished Revolution," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 1996, pp.35-36) 3/02/2007 "Bacteria are exceedingly hardy in every respect one can think of. They have remarkable tolerance to temperature, to pressure, to nutrients and to radiation damage. ... The properties of bacteria are not at all of the kind that could possibly be explained by evolution in a terrestrial environment, because in many respects their properties have no relation to conditions encountered naturally on the Earth, for instance in their resistance to exceedingly low temperatures and pressures, and their resistance to immense doses of destructive radiation. There has never been a terrestrial environment in which such properties could have evolved, and so, according to the Darwinian mode of evolution they simply should not exist But in fact they do." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Our Place in the Cosmos: The Unfinished Revolution," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 1996, pp.36-37) 3/02/2007 "Microorganisms recover from damage to their basic genetic material in a subtle way. The method of repair turns on there being two helices in DNA. Damage at a particular site on the DNA nearly always occurs to only one of the two helices and/or its attachments. A battery of enzymes is first called out to remove the damaged region. Then other enzymes take a look at the undamaged helix and its attachments, from which it is possible to work out what the site of the damaged helix (now removed) should properly be. With the proper form decided, enzymes first construct a correct new bit of helix together with the correct attachments to it. This is fitted into place, and the double helix is returned to its proper form. No such complex process could possibly arise, in our opinion, unless there had been an imperative necessity for it - such as certainly exists in space but not on the Earth, where biological systems are shielded by the atmosphere from the critical source of damage in space, namely X-rays of solar and cosmic origin. Biological systems on the Earth can be hit by a cosmic-ray particle, but such events for a target as small as a microorganism are exceedingly rare. No complex process of repair is required for rare events, since an assembly of bacteria with immense powers of replication could easily afford the wholly trivial losses that would arise from unlikely accidents. Humans, with their vastly larger target area for cosmic rays and other stray low-level sources of damage, manage quite well without having a repair mechanism to equal that of bacteria." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Our Place in the Cosmos: The Unfinished Revolution," , Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 1996, pp.37-38) 3/02/2007 "Between 2-6 % of the insoluble organic matter of meteorites has been found by Drs J. Brooks and G. Shaw of Bradford University to resemble sporopollenin. Sporopollenin is the very stable material of which pollen capsules are made. It is this substance that enables pollen to survive in ancient sediments. ... At best one cannot be absolutely certain that, whatever one finds in a meteorite, it did not originate on the earth itself. Even if the meteorite were to have been collected soon after landing and if it had the minimum of handling, one can never be sure that it hadn't picked up biological material from a previous encounter with the earth. It is now known that some meteorites collide with the earth's atmosphere and are immediately ejected back into space, only to return many years later. ... The fact that the Apollo lunar samples failed to indicate biochemicals confirms the view that life is only present here on earth. If meteorites were loaded with biochemicals then one would have expected to find a thick layer of organic dust on the surface of the moon. This was not so. I believe there is a simple explanation for the presence of biochemicals in meteorites They arise from contamination by pollen grains. Immense quantities of pollen are driven up into the upper atmosphere by air currents. During the descent of any meteorite the pollen grains become embedded into its surface cracks. Within the pollen shell are an abundance of amino acids. They are all of the L- type, but as the meteorite becomes hot, the amino acids racemize. Finally, as it passes through layers of cloud, water droplets wash out the amino acids from the pollen grains to leave a shell of sporopollenin. What Brooks and Shaw had found was indeed sporopollenin. Proof of this suggestion comes from an inspection of the types of amino acid found in meteorites. They resemble very much the amino acids present in honey; take for example, pipecolic acid, α-amino butyric acid and ß-alanine. These amino acids arise in honey from pollen. In fact the amino acids found in meteorites are characteristic of pollen. Pipecolic acid, for instance, is characteristic of grass pollen. The presence of biochemicals in meteorites does not indicate, as many would like to think, the possibility of extraterrestrial life, nor indeed extraterrestrial chemical evolution. They arise from pollen grains that are picked up by the meteorite as it falls to earth." (Croft, L.R., "How Life Began," Evangelical Press: Durham UK, 1988, pp.110-111) 3/02/2007 "On the contrary there is no evidence that a `primeval soup' ever existed on this planet for any appreciable length of time. If a `soup' had existed, the very basis of the Chemical Evolution Theory would require that it would have had to contain large quantities of nitrogen-containing organic compounds (amino acids. nucleic acid bases, etc.). Such materials in laboratory experiments are readily absorbed on sedimentary inorganic particles and would therefore under normal geological conditions and in an environment that did not contain life unquestionably sediment along with the rock and mineral particles. The result of this should have been the formation of vast areas of sediments containing organic compounds-since the theories of Chemical Evolution demand that large quantities of such compounds should occur over long periods of time, so that chance might have an opportunity to exert its influence on the various chemical processes which are assumed to have led to a living system. It would of course be inevitable that such sediments would undergo normal diagenetic processes when we would then expect to find significant quantities of `nitrogenous- cokes,' trapped in various sediments. The formation of such `cokes' is the normal result obtained by heating organic matter rich in nitrogenous substances. No such materials have yet been found in Precambrian rocks on this planet. In fact the opposite seems to be the case. The nitrogen content of Precambrian organic matter is exceptionally low (<0.2%). The insoluble organic matter (`kerogen') present in Precambrian sediments generally contains largely carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen with very little organic nitrogen or sulphur. We can therefore conclude with some degree of certainty that: a) There never was any substantial amount of `primitive soup' on Earth when ancient Precambrian sediments were formed; and that b) If such a `soup' existed it was only for a brief period of time. If we subtract the idea of a substantial amount of `primitive soup' and a long period of time from the basic concept of the Chemical Evolution Theory, there is very little left." (Brooks, J. & Shaw, G., "A Critical Assessment of the Origin of Life," in Noda, H., ed., "Origin of Life: Proceedings of the Second ISSOL Meeting, the Fifth ICOL Meeting," Center for Academic Publications: Japan, 1978, pp.597-606, p.604) 3/02/2007 "The geochemical investigations indicate that throughout the early Precambrian there is ample evidence in the rocks that living systems were present at the time of their deposition and were photosynthesising and undergoing biochemical reactions similar to those of current living systems. Thus photosynthesising microorganisms were present in the lower and upper Onverwacht Group and banded iron formations have been discovered in the West Greenland ancient Archaean rocks. The oldest preserved sediments in the world probably formed about 4.0 x 109 years ago, before the major metamorphic events dated at 3.75-3.85 x 109 years ago. The banded iron formations in the Godthaab and Isua metasediments may indicate that living systems were active about 4.0 x 109 years ago. Prior to this the Earth is considered to have been at too high a temperature (> 600°C) to support life or for that matter to allow the stable existence of complex bio- molecules, such as proteins and nucleic acids. This leaves ever decreasing amounts of time for conventional Chemical Evolutionary processes to occur. The time scale is very different from that normally suggested for Chemical Evolution models. Since there is no clear geochemical evidence to support current theories of Chemical Evolution, one must strongly consider that life on Earth may have originated extra-terrestrially. It could be that further exploration of extraterrestrial materials (such as carbonaceous chondrites, Martian and other solar planet materials) might help throw light on the problem. Certainly, the sure discovery of any form of life in extra-terrestrial materials would add great weight to the concept of an extra-terrestrial origin for life on Earth." (Brooks, J. & Shaw, G., "A Critical Assessment of the Origin of Life," in Noda, H., ed., "Origin of Life: Proceedings of the Second ISSOL Meeting, the Fifth ICOL Meeting," Center for Academic Publications: Japan, 1978, pp.597-606, pp.604-605) 3/02/2007 "The surface of the earth is molten rock. The oceans are steam or superheated water. Every so often a wandering asteroid slams in with such energy that any incipient crust of hardened rock is melted again and the oceans are reboiled to an incandescent mist. Welcome to Hades, or at least to what geologists call the Hadean interval of earth's history. It is reckoned to have lasted from the planet's formation 4.6 billion years ago until 3.8 billion years ago, when the rain of ocean-boiling asteroids ended. The Isua greenstone belt of western Greenland, one of the oldest known rocks, was formed as the Hadean interval ended. And amazingly, to judge by chemical traces in the Isuan rocks, life on earth was already old." (Wade, N., "Genetic Analysis Yields Intimations of a Primordial Commune," The New York Times, June 13, 2000) 3/02/2007 "Everything about the origin of life on earth is a mystery, and it seems the more that is known, the more acute the puzzles get. The dates have become increasingly awkward. Instead of there being a billion or so years for the first cells to emerge from a warm broth of chemicals, life seems to pop up almost instantly after the last of the titanic asteroid impacts that routinely sterilized the infant planet. Last week, researchers reported discovering microbes that lived near volcanic vents formed 3.2 billion years ago, confirming that heat-loving organisms were among earth's earliest inhabitants." (Wade, N., "Genetic Analysis Yields Intimations of a Primordial Commune," The New York Times, June 13, 2000) 3/02/2007 "The chemistry of the first life is a nightmare to explain. No one has yet devised a plausible explanation to show how the earliest chemicals of life -thought to be RNA, or ribonucleic acid, a close relative of DNA -- might have constructed themselves from the inorganic chemicals likely to have been around on the early earth. The spontaneous assembly of small RNA molecules on the primitive earth `would have been a near miracle,' two experts in the subject helpfully declared last year. [Joyce G.F. & Orgel L.E., "Prospects for Understanding the Origin of the RNA World," in "The RNA World," Gesteland R.F. & Atkins J.F., eds. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press": Cold Spring Harbor NY, 1993, p.19]" (Wade, N., "Genetic Analysis Yields Intimations of a Primordial Commune," The New York Times, June 13, 2000) 3/02/2007 "A third line of inquiry into the beginnings of life has now also hit an unexpected roadblock. This is phylogeny, or the drawing of family trees of the various genes found in present-day forms of life. The idea is to run each gene tree backward to the ancestral gene at the root of the tree. The collection of all these ancestral genes should define the nature of the assumed universal ancestor, the living cell from which all the planet's life is descended. The universal ancestor would lie some distance away from life's origin from chemicals, but might at least give clues to how that process started. The phylogenetic approach worked beautifully when first applied in 1981 by Dr. Carl Woese of the University of Illinois to a single gene. Dr. Woese chose a gene that makes an essential component of the cell's machinery for synthesizing proteins. The tree derived by analyzing the versions of this gene found in many different species showed an orderly branching into the three primal kingdoms of life known as the bacteria, the archaea and the eukarya. The archaea are singled-celled organisms often found in hot places like scalding springs and deep oil wells; the eukarya include all multicellular forms of life like plants and animals. But the picture has become much less clear now that some 30 genomes from species in the three kingdoms have been decoded. For one thing, all of these genomes have turned out to contain far more novel genes than had been expected. And if all of these genes had forebears in the last ancestor, that primeval cell would have been implausibly complex." (Wade, N., "Genetic Analysis Yields Intimations of a Primordial Commune," The New York Times, June 13, 2000) 3/02/2007 "For another, family trees drawn on the basis of other genes showed a quite different pattern to that of Dr. Woese's protein-making gene. Biologists have not despaired of restoring the universal ancestor with phylogenetic trees, but the unveiling will not take place nearly so soon as expected. The puzzle that different genes yield different family trees, even though there can only be one family tree of evolution, is easily explained in principle: some genes must have been transmitted horizontally instead of vertically. In other words, instead of being inherited by one generation from another, certain genes must have been exchanged between lineages of organisms, just as living species of bacteria pass around among each other the genes that confer resistance to antibiotics. The horizontal exchange of genes seems to have started before the three kingdoms of life diverged from each other and the universal ancestor. Indeed, it was so pervasive, Dr. Woese suggested recently, that the universal ancestor was probably not a single-celled organism but a commune -- a loosely knit conglomerate of diverse cells that exchanged genetic information. These pieces of the genetic information would have been short modules carrying several related genes, not the long chromosomes carrying thousands of genes that are seen in most living organisms. Also, in Dr. Woese's view, they would have had a primitive and rather sloppy system for copying their genetic material, not the highly accurate, proof-read mechanism of DNA replication enjoyed by living cells today. But at some point, in Dr. Woese's reconstruction, the mechanism for translating genetic information into proteins would have become more accurate and powerful, and the members of this ancestral community would have evolved to a stage at which it was difficult to incorporate new material into their genomes. The commune members would have started to evolve independently. This would have been the moment when the family tree of the bacteria, archaea and eukarya began. The ancestral commune theory explains why the three kingdoms seem to have a largely common set of protein-making genes, as reflected in Dr. Woese's original tree, but a smorgasbord of other gene categories." (Wade, N., "Genetic Analysis Yields Intimations of a Primordial Commune," The New York Times, June 13, 2000) 3/02/2007 "Dr. Eugene V. Koonin, a computational biologist at the National Center for Biotechnological Information, agreed that Dr. Woese's idea was a useful framework and that the horizontal transfer of genes was probably more common in life's early days than now. `It is not so preposterous anymore to think of the common ancestor as a sort of Noah's ark, where pretty much every protein domain has been represented,' Dr. Koonin said. The proteins of living organisms are composed of mix-and-match functional units known as domains. Still, Dr. Woese's idea is a disturbing concept. Evolutionists are accustomed to portraying the evolutionary process in terms of neatly branching trees, not Noah's arks." (Wade, N., "Genetic Analysis Yields Intimations of a Primordial Commune," The New York Times, June 13, 2000) 3/02/2007 "The horizontal transfer thesis has been taken even further by Dr. W. Ford Doolittle, an evolutionary biologist at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. In a February article in Scientific American, titled `Uprooting the Tree of Life,' Dr. Doolittle argued that extensive horizontal transfers of genes occurred even after the emergence of the three kingdoms, making the origin of life look more like a forkful of spaghetti than a tree. Gene-based trees drawn for living animals can usually be dated by estimating the rate of DNA change and anchoring at least one branch of the tree to a fossil of known age. But the rate of DNA change has probably not been constant throughout evolution, especially in its early days, making it hard to known if gene-based trees like Dr. Woese's do indeed extend to the last common ancestor as they seem to on paper. Dr. Doolittle believes the trees may reach back only a billion years or so, not to the four-billion-year point when life began. `So many people wanted to believe we can run the clock right back to the beginning,' he said. But Dr. Koonin thinks the trees hold very ancient information, even if their dates are not certain. `We can see very far,' he said. `We can see beyond the last common ancestor.' He cites the fact that certain genes, like those for the proteins known as helicases and amino acid synthetases, are duplicated in all three kingdoms, and that these duplications must have occurred in the common ancestor, before the kingdoms split." (Wade, N., "Genetic Analysis Yields Intimations of a Primordial Commune," The New York Times, June 13, 2000) 3/02/2007 "Several of the earliest branches on Dr. Woese's original tree lead to present-day bacteria or archaea that live in extremely hot places. Since the early earth also was hot, it is tempting to think that the earliest forms of life may have emerged in places like the volcanic vents that pierce the ocean bed. Last week, Dr. Birger Rasmussen, a geologist at the University of Western Australia, reported in Nature that he had discovered the `probable fossil remains' of microbes that lived in volcanic vent deposits laid down 3.235 billion years ago. These are by far the oldest known vent-associated microbes, although the oldest fossils of any kind are of bacteria that lived 3.5 billion years ago. Dr. Rasmussen found these microscopic filaments of life in the Pilbara Craton of northwestern Australia. This and a formation in South Africa are the only two known Archaean age rocks in which fossils have survived. All other rocks of the Archaean age, which lasted from 3.8 billion to 2.5 billion years ago, have been so heated and reworked that any fossils have perished. In part because life must have originated well before these oldest known fossils, many biologists accept as the earliest evidence for life the traces of possibly biologically processed carbon in the Isuan rocks of Greenland. But at least one expert, Dr. J. William Shopf of the University of California at Los Angeles, is doubtful. The traces `could equally well be charred dregs of primordial soup, the remains of nonbiologic organic matter formed on the early earth or brought in with meteorites or comets,' he writes in `The Cradle of Life' (Princeton University Press, April 2000)." (Wade, N., "Genetic Analysis Yields Intimations of a Primordial Commune," The New York Times, June 13, 2000) 3/02/2007 "Though there are several lines of evidence about life's origins, none yet provides a clear view of the critical events. The fossil evidence fades out at 3.5 billion years ago. The phylogenetic evidence is for the moment blurred by horizontal gene transfer. The best efforts of chemists to reconstruct molecules typical of life in the laboratory have shown only that it is a problem of fiendish difficulty. The genesis of life on earth, some time in the fiery last days of the Hadean, remains an unyielding problem." (Wade, N., "Genetic Analysis Yields Intimations of a Primordial Commune," The New York Times, June 13, 2000) 5/02/2007 "Geological evidence often presented in favor of an early anoxic atmosphere is both contentious and ambiguous. The features that should be present in the geologic record had there been such an atmosphere seem to be missing. Many of the features advanced in support of an anoxic model can be ascribed to diagenetic alterations, and most diagenetic environments are reducing. Recent biological and interplanetary studies seem to favor an early oxidized atmosphere rich in CO2 and possibly containing free molecular oxygen. The existence of early red beds, sea and groundwater sulphate, oxidized terrestrial and sea-floor weathering crusts, and the distribution of ferric iron in sedimentary rocks are geological observations and inferences compatible with the biological and planetary predictions. It is suggested that from the time of the earliest dated rocks at 3.7 b.y. ago, Earth had an oxygenic atmosphere." (Clemmey, H. & Badham, N., "Oxygen in the Precambrian Atmosphere: An Evaluation of the Geological Evidence," Geology, Vol. 10, March 1982, pp.141–146, p.141) 5/02/2007 "All conceptions of the `primordial soup' from which life arose agree in that it included not only the particular sugars, amino acids and other substances that are now essential biochemical reactants but also many other molecules that are now only laboratory curiosities. It was therefore necessary for the first organizing principle to be highly selective from the start. It had to tolerate an enormous overburden of small molecules that were biologically `wrong' but chemically possible. From this background the organizing principle had to extract those molecules that would eventually become the routinely synthesized standard monomers of all the biological polymers, and it had to link them dependably in particular configurations. The total amount of potential organic material was immense. If the carbon now found in coal, carbonate rocks and living matter were uniformly distributed in all of the present ocean water, it would make a carbon solution as concentrated as a strong bouillon. Geophysical processes such as weathering, evaporation and sedimentation must have acted then as they do now to create a diversity of environments. Evidently at least one of these environments was suitable in temperature and composition for the origin of life. The primitive soup did face an energy crisis: early life forms needed somehow to extract chemical energy from the molecules in the soup. For the story we have to tell here it is not important how they did so; some system of energy storage and delivery based on phosphates can be assumed." (Eigen, M., Gardiner, W., Schuster, P. & Winkler-Oswatitsch, R., "The Origin of Genetic Information," Scientific American, Vol. 244, No. 4, April 1981, pp.78-94, pp.78-79) 5/02/2007 "REPLICATION OF DOUBLE-STRAND DNA is much more `sophisticated' than that of RNA and includes mechanisms for detecting and correcting errors. Twenty or more enzymes are involved. At the replication fork an unwinding protein separates the two parental strands; single-strand-binding protein keeps them apart. Because replication proceeds along both template strands in the 3'-to-5' direction the process is discontinuous for one of the strands .... A mobile promoter provides a recognition site for a primase that lays down a short RNA primer (which is later replaced with DNA). Polymerase III adds DNA monomers to elongate the strand; polymerase I `proofreads' the sequence, excises incorrect nucleotides and inserts the correct ones. Finally the enzyme ligase fills in the gaps between the daughter-strand fragments. In the absence of proofreading, DNA replication is no more accurate than RNA replication." (Eigen, M., Gardiner, W., Schuster, P. & Winkler-Oswatitsch, R., "The Origin of Genetic Information," Scientific American, Vol. 244, No. 4, April 1981, pp.78-94, p.85. Emphasis original) 5/02/2007 "The difficulty is not whether there has been evolution, but what has brought about the evolution. ... Darwinism, the theory that evolution has conic about by the survival through natural selection of the fortuitous variations most suited to the environment, has had the support of many of the greatest zoologists of the last seventy years ... But there have always been those who were dissatisfied with the theory, and the number of those who consider Darwinism to be the main factor in evolution is probably much less to-day than thirty years ago. Bateson has strongly opposed Darwinism; and so has D.M.S. Watson. Many others who are apparently dissatisfied with Darwinism do not seem very willing to express their opinions. Curiously enough, Darwin himself was not an extreme Darwinian, and was inclined to believe that use and disuse were important factors, and that acquired characters were inherited. Of course all Darwinians have to admit that nothing is known of the cause of the variations which they believe nature selects, and it is now known that most of the variations which they believed could be inherited are not inherited at all." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, pp.194-195) 6/02/2007 "The nothingness `before' the creation of the universe is the most complete void that we can imagine-no space, time or matter existed. It is a world without place, without duration or eternity, without number-it is what the mathematicians call `the empty set.' Yet this unthinkable void converts itself into the plenum of existence-a necessary consequence of physical laws. Where are these laws written into that void? What `tells' the void that it is pregnant with a possible universe? It would seem that even the void is subject to law, a logic that exists prior to space and time." (Pagels, H.R., "Perfect Symmetry: The Search for the Beginning of Time," , Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1992, p.347) 6/02/2007 "The orchids are among the most wonderful flowers ever evolved. Darwin, who devoted much time to the study of the many marvellous devices that have arisen to bring about cross-fertilisation by insects, stated that `a study of their many beautiful contrivances will exalt the whole vegetable kingdom in most persons' estimation.' In many cases the development is such that the flower and insect fit each other like glove and hand. In some cases the device is so ingenious that the bee or other insect is attracted by the fragrance and nectar into a chamber from which there is only one way of escape, and in escaping the insect must first touch the stigma and then the stamen, and as it passes to the next flower it carries the pollen to the next stigma. But the devices are almost endless. There are over seven thousand different species known, and it is very remarkable that this, the most specialised group of the flowering plants, should have more species than any other family except the Compositae. But quite as remarkable as the devices for cross-fertilisation are the possible attempts at mimicry. The West Indian orchid, Oncidiuim Papilla, has a rather remarkable resemblance to an insect. It has what looks like a head, a long proboscis, a pair of antennae, a pair of wings, and a very large, wide abdomen. It can hardly be mimicry as there is no insect very like it, and it can hardly have been for attracting insects as it seems rather to frighten them away, and as a result the flower often remains unfertilised. The British Bee Orchis bears some resemblance to a bee, and here also instead of attracting the insects it frightens them away. (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, pp.207-208) 6/02/2007 "The devices found among plants for scattering the seeds are as ingenious as those for effecting cross- fertilisation. Large numbers of plants belonging to different orders have seeds that are winged or have fluffy developments that enable them to be blown long distances by the wind. Others have the seeds covered with little hooks that catch on the fur of animals and are thus often carried many miles. Some seeds have sharp thorns that pass into the foot of an animal treading on them. For almost diabolical ingenuity it would be hard to surpass the grapple plant, Haypago-Phytum, which fastens itself on to the nose or hoof of a browsing animal, or the seeds of some grasses -sharper than needles and with a screw device for driving them into the skins of animals. Then we have another remarkable development in a number of South African plants. The inflorescence is so arranged that it forms a large round ball, which breaks off and is rolled for long distances by the wind over the veld. In some plants each seed-case is on the end of a stiff stem, and as each stem is of about equal length and radiate in all directions, an almost perfect ball is formed. In others the floret stems curve round to make the ball. Now it seems to me difficult to avoid the conclusion that behind the various devices for cross-fertilisation in flowers, and the various arrangements for seed dispersal, there is intelligence somewhere. Fortuitous mutation or variation seems too far-fetched. But the question is whether the intelligence is in the plant or outside. To fit a flower to the structure of a bee, or a nectary tube to the proboscis of a moth or butterfly, seems to imply some knowledge of the insects, and we can hardly believe that flowers can study insects. Then the development of burrs would seem to imply some knowledge of mammalian fur, and whatever agency invented the spear grass would seem to have had some knowledge of the structure of the mammalian skin. Smuts, in his lecture just published on `Some Recent Scientific Advances in their Bearing on Philosophy,' sums up as follows: `Starting from certain vulgar errors in our conception of space and time and the progressive steps by which science has eliminated them, we have seen how their correction has opened up a new view of the nature of scientific knowledge and of the relation of mind to matter. And this relation points to a still greater synthesis looming ahead, in which a spiritual view of the universe may not only be justified but may receive firm support from science itself.'" (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, pp.209-210) 6/02/2007 "To suggest the possibility of a spiritual agency in evolution will of course evoke a vigorous protest from most scientists ; but if physicists and philosophers are considering the possibility of a spiritual view of the physical universe a biologist may perhaps be excused for considering whether some spiritual agency or agencies may not be largely concerned in the processes of evolution. When we have a very definite effect we may claim the right to consider all possible causes even though at first sight they may appear improbable. Even those who believe in mutations great or small have to admit that they know nothing of what may have produced them; and Darwin had to admit that what was behind variations was quite unknown." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, pp.210-211) 6/02/2007 "WE have traced the evolution of man up from the fishes, and have seen that it has been a very slow, steady progress, with never any going back and with rarely any specialisation till we come to the last stage, when man gets his large brain. The history has been a most remarkable one. It looks like a succession of very fortunate accidents; but as the apparent accidents have always given rise to higher and higher types of organisation, it can hardly be wondered at if doubts arise as to their being accidents at all." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, p.212) 6/02/2007 "At a very early stage fishes developed anterior and posterior lateral fins. We can see how they probably arose, but there does not seem to have been any very great necessity at all for a pair of lateral fins. The most pelagic of all marine vertebrates, the whales, once had four limbs but have now only the anterior pair of flippers. Even many fishes have lost their pelvic fins, and many others have the pelvic fins shifted forward into the pectoral region. Perhaps four lateral fins were evolved, because later on four limbs would be required to support a land vertebrate. Then the strange skeletal support of the lobe-finned fishes looks as if it had been evolved, not specially to benefit the fishes, but because it would presently be required to support a crawling vertebrate." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, pp.212-213) 6/02/2007 "The lobe-fin is about the poorest fin that has ever been evolved. It was too poor for marine fishes, and seems to have been only evolved in some fresh-water types. But had it not been for the skeleton of the lobe- fin it would in all probability have been impossible for a crawling or walking limb ever to have been developed. A few of the higher fishes have taken to crawling at times, such as the gurnards, and the climbing perches, and the Indian siluroid fish Clarias, which, when the rivers dry up, crawls for long distances over the dried mud in search of water-holes, but none of these fishes has ever succeeded in evolving limbs. And the crawling limb was evolved in a type of fish that had a better brain, a higher evolved heart than the other fishes, and most probably it had lungs. The coincidences seem far too remarkable to have been due to accident." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, p.213) 6/02/2007 "We do not know at present the exact details of how an amphibian evolved into a reptile. The ancestral amphibian must have had five digits in the front foot, and was possibly one of the sub-order called the Lepospondyli-a group of small lizard-like amphibians known only from the Carboniferous and Lower Permian times, and which is the only known group of amphibians having five digits in the front foot. Had reptiles arisen from an amphibian with only four digits in the front foot, such as the newt, only four digits would have been possible in the human hand, as in evolution a structure like a digit once lost is never replaced." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, pp.213- 214) 6/02/2007 "The reptiles at a very early stage in their evolution divided into two groups which might be called the crawlers and the walkers. From the crawlers arose all the existing reptiles, as well as the aquatic ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, the dinosaurs, the flying pterodactyls, and ultimately the birds. From the walkers arose the mammal-like reptiles and from them the mammals. During Permian and Triassic times there were a large number of mammal-like reptile groups, all approaching in some ways to the mammalian structure, but all except one ultimately failing to become warm blooded. The Anomodonts were in many ways extremely mammal-like, but they specialised in acquiring a tortoise-like beak. For perhaps forty million years they were remarkably successful ; and then they died out, leaving no descendants. The Dinocephalians specialised in massiveness and did not long survive. The Gorgonopsians and the Cynodonts were fairly large and very mammal-like in many ways. Why they failed we cannot be at all sure, knowing as we do only the skeletons. Probably they had specialised in some wrong direction. The Therocephalians evolved into a large number of families, and most of these--certainly all those whose members were large-died out. A line of small generalised Therocephalians appears to have been successful. They gave rise to a higher group, the Bauriamorphs, and some member of this group gave rise to the Ictidosaurians ; and from an Ictidosaurian arose the first mammal. The little line that ran from the Therocephalians to the first mammals was entirely made up of small animals. Many side branches specialised and became moderately large, but these all soon perished. Only the little generalised types carried on the line, but they always died out as soon as a higher type arose. Probably only one Bauriamorph led to the Ictidosaurians, and almost certainly only one Ictidosaurian gave birth to the mammalian stem." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, pp.214-215) 6/02/2007 "Apparently in Upper Triassic times a small Ictidosaurian-perhaps as small as a mouse-developed hair, and about the same time the lower jaw formed a new joint between the dentary and the squamosal bones, and the little bones of the jaw became ear ossicles, and the heart became four-chambered. All these changes probably took place nearly simultaneously. We might regard the evolution of one of these characters as a happy accident, but that all should arise about the same time and by accident is incredible." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, p.215) 6/02/2007 "From the first little mammal in the Upper Trias there arose a long line of small descendants that lived on till the Upper Cretaceous-a period of about one hundred million years-but they played an extremely obscure part in the world's history. Many side branches arose, but very few of these specialisations lasted long. One of them has still two living members, the egg-laying mammals of Australia. In probably Lower Cretaceous times another branch came off which has led to the opossums and kangaroos of to-day." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, pp.215-216) 6/02/2007 "The placental or higher mammals probably arose about the middle of the Cretaceous period. Here was a great advance. The mammals might have continued laying eggs. The birds still do. While a small-brained animal might be hatched from an egg, some other arrangement was necessary for a large-brained animal. First we doubtless had the egg retained for a considerable time in the oviduct, and very small, but fairly well developed, young being born, as in the marsupials. Then in the next stage we had a remarkable development of blood vessels and blood spaces, by which the foetal blood vessels came into close contact with the maternal blood in the placenta or after-birth, and by this means the young animal was enabled to remain in the womb till well advanced. And the embryo had not only full nourishment during its intrauterine life, but almost perfect protection from injury. Till birth, of course, no air comes into the lungs and very little blood passes through them, but all arrangements are made for a great change in the circulation at birth. As soon as the first breath is taken the pulmonary circulation becomes established. Blood rushes into the lungs, and the opening between the auricles of the heart soon closes. One marvels at the arrangements by which the foetus is nourished by the intimate association of the foetal and maternal blood streams in the afterbirth ; but the way in which the foetal circulation of the blood is suddenly completely changed at birth and without the slightest inconvenience is one of the most wonderful things in nature." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, pp.216-217 6/02/2007 "During the Upper Cretaceous and Lower Eocene there was a wonderful blossoming out of the mammals. The little generalised mammals all began to specialise in one way or another, and all the diverse mammalian orders branched out in different ways. The two main groups of the hoofed animals--the even-toed and the odd-toed-went off evolving in independent lines as early as Lower Eocene. The carnivores, the whales, the elephants, the sirenians, the rodents, and the monkey groups all began in the Eocene. Even such highly specialised mammals as bats were already in existence in Eocene times. And as has already been pointed out, no generalised small mammals were left in the world after the Eocene, so that never again could a new order of mammals arise. And we can thus say with perfect confidence, that no new orders of mammals have arisen in the last forty million years. Now this is very remarkable. During Permian and Triassic times we had a larger number of mammal-like reptile orders or sub-orders evolved by specialisation, and all these went on for a time and then died out. But one little line of generalised mammal-like reptiles remained to carry on evolution further." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, pp.217-218) 6/02/2007 "During Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous times-for probably eighty million years-there were many specialisations of the early mammals, but the line of generalised little mammals still continued into Upper Cretaceous times. Then in Upper Cretaceous and Eocene the large number of specialisations took place, and no generalised mammals were left. So that, except for minor changes no further evolution could take place. And it is the same with the fishes, the amphibians, the reptiles, the birds, and the plants. The same also probably holds good for all invertebrate groups, the insects, the crustaceans, the sea-urchins, and starfishes, and the molluscs, though the evidence is here less conclusive. There is, however, no doubt that evolution, so far as new groups are concerned, is at an end. That a line of small generalised animals should have continued on till in Eocene times the Primates originated and then ceased; and that except for specialisations of Eocene types there has been no evolution in the last forty million years, and that the evolutionary clock has so completely run down that it is very doubtful if a single new genus has appeared on earth in the last two million years, seems to drive us to the conclusion that there was no need for further evolution after man appeared, and that the evolution of man must have been deliberately planned by some spiritual power." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, p.218) 6/02/2007 "The early evolution of man is remarkable in that a number of branches appeared which all led to inferior types of man, and one branch which led to modern man. Perhaps the inferior types like Pithecanthropus played some important part in the world's ecology, while the evolving higher types were less fitted." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, pp.218-219) 6/02/2007 "While it is hardly to be expected that the study of the very imperfectly known details of the course of evolution during the geological ages will reveal what is behind it all, or indeed prove that there is anything behind it at all, any more than the study of human history will solve the mysteries of the universe, it does seem to throw a little light into the darkness. And while others will doubtless consider that the conclusions to which the writer is inclined to come are not justified by the facts, there seems no harm in quite frankly indicating what may be a possible explanation, especially as most of those that have previously been advanced seem to break down. Perhaps that here indicated may also prove to be unsound, but it seems at least worthy of consideration." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, pp.219-220) 6/02/2007 "The great religions of the world-the Jewish, the Christian, and the Mohammedan--all believe that a supreme Spiritual Power has created and rules the Universe. But they believe also in other spiritual beings- archangels, angels, devils, and a variety of less clearly defined types. How they have arrived at these conclusions we need not consider. And further, they believe that in man at least there is a spiritual element, the soul. Now it seems to the writer that the facts of Science not only do not contradict the main conclusions of those religions, but are possibly in considerable harmony with them." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, pp.220-221) 6/02/2007 "Much of evolution looks as if it had been planned to result in man, and in other animals and plants to make the world a suitable place for him to dwell in. It is hard to believe that the huge-brained thinking ape was an accident. But if we become convinced that man is the result of the working out of millions of years of planning, we seem forced to the further conclusion that the aim has not been merely the production of a large-brained erect walking ape, but that the aim has been the production of human personalities, and the personality is evidently a new spiritual being that will probably survive the death of the body." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, p.220-221) 6/02/2007 "When one has come to the conclusion that the evolution of man has been planned by some great spiritual power, it would almost seem natural to further conclude that the same power had planned all evolution, and that all plants and animals had arisen through the will of this same power. But there are many difficulties if we accept this conclusion. The great artist-poet, Blake, when apostrophising the tiger, says, `Did He who made the lamb make thee?' And the same thought must come to anyone who looks at the different forms of life. It hardly seems possible that the agency that evolved the turtle dove also evolved the cobra and the mamba. And it seems incredible that the power that resolved to make man, also planned the evolution of the germs of tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, and typhoid. If one admits the possibility of spiritual agencies in evolution, then we seem forced to the conclusion that these agencies are very numerous and very different. Many animals and plants that have been evolved seem, at least to the eye of man, to be very beautiful, while others seem to have little or no beauty whatever. It is hard to believe that the same power that evolved the Stanley crane also evolved the ungainly dodo." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, pp.221-222) 6/02/2007 "The large majority of animals and plants might be regarded as beautiful, and many are exquisitely beautiful. Only a few are really ugly. And the large majority of animals are what we might call well behaved. Only a small minority are of a cruel disposition. And among the plants only a few have cruel devices. And even among germs only a very few cause cruel diseases. Another very curious fact which seems to con firm the view that many different spiritual entities have played a part in evolution, and that these entities have individuality, is that beauty is very rarely associated with cruelty." (Broom, R., "The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design?," H. F. & G. Witherby: London, 1933, p.222) 7/02/2007 "Hoyle said last week that ... the origin of life-the calculated time since the origin of the Universe of 10,000 million years or so is not enough to account for the evolution of living forms ... The essence of his argument last week was that the information content of the higher forms of life is represented by the number 10^40 000 representing the specificity with which some 2,000 genes, each of which might be chosen from 10^20 nucleotide sequences of the appropriate length, might be defined. Evolutionary processes would, Hoyle said, require several Hubble times to yield such a result. The chance that higher [sic] life forms might have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that `a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein'. ... Of adherents of biological evolution, Hoyle said he was at a loss to understand `biologists' widespread compulsion to deny what seems to me to be obvious'." (Hoyle, F., in "Hoyle on evolution," Nature, Vol. 294, 12 November 1981, p.105) 7/02/2007 "At all events, anyone with even a nodding acquaintance with the Rubik cube will concede the near- impossibility of a solution being obtained by a blind person moving the cube faces at random. Now imagine 10^50 blind persons each with a scrambled Rubik cube, and try to conceive of the chance of them all simultaneously arriving at the solved form. You then have the chance of arriving by random shuffling of just one of the many biopolymers on which life depends. The notion that not only the biopolymers but the operating programme of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial organic soup here on the Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order." (Hoyle, F., "The Big Bang in Astronomy," New Scientist, 19 November 1981, pp.521-527, p.527. Emphasis original) 8/02/2007 "If human pride is nurtured by such vastly extended roots, then the end of 1977 was a bounteous time for self-esteem. Early in November, an announcement of the discovery of some fossil prokaryotes from South Africa pushed the antiquity of life back to 3.4 billion years [Knoll, A.H. & Barghoorn, E.S., "Archean Microfossils Showing Cell Division from the Swaziland System of South Africa," Science, Vol. 198, 28 October 1977, pp.396-398]. (Prokaryotes, including bacteria and blue-green algae, form the kingdom Monera. Their cells contain no organelles-no nucleus, no mitochondria-and they are regarded as the simplest forms of life on earth.) Two weeks later, a research team from the University of Illinois announced that the so- called methane- producing bacteria are not closely related to other monerans after all, but form a separate kingdom of their own [Woese, C.R. & Fox, G.E., "Phylogenetic Structure of the Prokaryotic Domain: The Primary Kingdoms," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA," Vol. 74, No. 11, November 1, 1977, pp.5088-5090]. If true monerans were alive 3.4 billion years ago, then the common ancestor of monerans and these newly christened `methanogens' must be considerably more ancient. Since the oldest dated rocks, the Isua Supracrustals of West Greenland, are 3.8 billion years old, we are left with very little time between the development of suitable conditions for life on the earth's surface and the origin of life itself. Life is not a complex accident that required immense time to convert the vastly improbable into the nearly certain-to build laboriously, step by step, through a large chunk of time's vastness, the most elaborate machinery on earth from the simple constituents of our original atmosphere. Instead, life, for all its intricacy, probably arose rapidly about as soon as it could; perhaps it was as inevitable as quartz or feldspar. (The earth is some 4 1/2 billion years old, but it passed through a molten or near-molten stage some time after its formation and probably did not form a solid crust much before the deposition of the West Greenland sequence.)" (Gould, S.J., "An Early Start," [Natural History, Vol. 87, No. 2, February 1978, pp.10-26] in "The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1990, pp.181-182) 8/02/2007 "Twenty years ago, I spent a summer at the University of Colorado, fortifying myself for the transition from high school to college. Amidst the various joys of snowcapped peaks and sore asses from trying to "set a trot," I well remember the highlight of my stay-George Wald's lecture on the `Origin of life.' He presented with infectious charm and enthusiasm the perspective that developed in the early 1950s and reigned as an orthodoxy until very recently. In Wald's view, the spontaneous origin of life could be considered as a virtually inevitable consequence of the earth's atmosphere and crust, and of its favorable size and position in the solar system. Still, he argued, life is so staggeringly complex that its origin from simple chemicals must have consumed an immense amount of time probably more time than its entire subsequent evolution from DNA molecule to advanced beetles (or whatever you choose to place atop the subjective ladder). Thousands of steps each requiring the one before, each improbable in itself. Only the immensity of time guaranteed the result, for time converts the improbable to the inevitable -give me a million years and I'll flip a hundred heads in a row more than once. Wald wrote in 1954: `Time is in fact the hero of the plot. The time with which we have to deal is the order of two billion years. ...Given so much time, the "impossible" becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracles.' [Wald, G., "The origin of life," Scientific American, Vol. 191, No. 2, August 1954, pp.44-53, p.48]. This orthodox view congealed without the benefit of any direct data from paleontology to test it, for the paucity of fossils before the great Cambrian 'explosion' 600 million years ago is, perhaps, the outstanding fact and frustration of my profession. In fact, the first unambiguous evidence of Precambrian life appeared in the same year that Wald theorized about its origin. Harvard paleobotanist Elso Barghoorn and Wisconsin geologist S. A. Tyler described a series of prokaryotic organisms from cherts of the Gunflint Formation, rocks nearly two billion years old from the northern shore of Lake Superior. Still, the gap between the Gunflint and the earth's origin spanned 2 1/2 billion years, more than enough time for Wald's slow and steady construction." (Gould, S.J., "An Early Start," [Natural History, Vol. 87, No. 2, February 1978, pp.10-26] in "The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, Reprint, 1990, p.182) 8/02/2007 "Exactly how evolution happened is now a matter of great controversy among biologists. Although the debate has been under way for several years, it reached a crescendo last month, as some 150 scientists, specializing in evolutionary studies, met for four days in Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History to thrash out a variety of new hypotheses that are challenging older ideas. Eldredge reminded the meeting of what many fossil hunters have recognized, as they trace the history of a species through successive layers of ancient sediments. Species simply appear at a given point in geologic time, persist largely unchanged for a few million years, and then disappear. There are very few examples-some say none-of one species shading gradually into another. The popularly told example of horse evolution, suggesting a gradual sequence of changes from four-toed, fox-sized creatures, living nearly 50 million years ago, to today's much larger one- toed horse, has long been known to be wrong. Instead of gradual change, fossils of each intermediate species appear fully distinct, persist unchanged, and then become extinct. Transitional forms are unknown." (Rensberger, B.C., "Ideas on Evolution Going Through a Revolution Among Scientists," Houston Chronicle, November 5, 1980, Section 4, p.15. In Gish, D.T.*, "Creation Scientists Answer Their Critics," Institute for Creation Research: El Cajon CA, 1993, pp.79-80) 8/02/2007 "Many others were as puzzled as Wallace about how the huge and obvious differences between humans and other animals could have arisen. Robert Broom, the remarkable paleontologist who discovered the Australopithecines of Sterkfontein and Kromdraai, and whose life and work we will examine in more detail in the next section, embraced theology with only the slightest hesitation at the end of his book The Mammallike Reptiles of South Africa and the Origin of Mammals (1932): `We seem almost driven to assume that there is some controlling power which modifies the animal according to its needs, and that the changes are inherited. Apart from minor modifications evolution is finished. From which we may perhaps conclude that man is the final product; and that amid all the thousands of apparently useless types of animals that have been formed some intelligent controlling power has specially guided one line to result in man.'" (Wills, C.J., "The Runaway Brain: The Evolution of Human Uniqueness," , HarperCollins: London, Reprinted, 1994, pp.77-78) 8/02/2007 "In his book Creative Evolution, the distinguished and influential philosopher Henri Bergson wrote (1944): `Among conscious beings themselves, man comes to occupy a privileged place. Between him and the animals the difference is no longer one of degree, but of kind.... So that, in the last analysis, man might be considered the reason for the existence of the entire organization of life on our planet.' Much more recently, Sir John Eccles, the distinguished neurophysiologist, has wrestled with the origin of the human brain in his book Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self (1989). After a careful and usually Darwinian discussion of the processes and forces that have shaped our brains, at the end of his book he faces the necessity of trying to explain human consciousness: `Since materialist solutions fail to account for our experienced uniqueness, I am constrained to attribute the uniqueness of the Self or Soul to a supernatural spiritual creation.... I submit that no other explanation is tenable: neither the genetic uniqueness with its fantastically impossible lottery, nor the environmental differentiations which do not determine one's uniqueness, but merely modify it.... For this reason I superimposed a finalistic concept on the materialistic explanations of Darwinism to which I faithfully adhered in the first nine chapters. It has to be conjectured that there was a final goal in all the vicissitudes of biological evolution.' ... I could easily list hundreds of quotations like these." (Wills, C.J., "The Runaway Brain: The Evolution of Human Uniqueness," , HarperCollins: London, Reprinted, 1994, p.78) 8/02/2007 "We have to ask why, when they were confronted with the fact of human evolution, so many distinguished thinkers abandoned Darwinism, or banished it to the world of nonhuman organisms. Why were so many of them forced to resurrect the eighteenth-century world of a ladder of creation, with humankind at the top? Or, like Teilhard, to elaborate even more rococo structures? Simply because, in spite of the goallessness explicitly demanded by contemporary evolutionary theory, it is obvious to anyone that humans are distinctly different, astonishingly different, from any other organisms on the planet. No chimpanzee, regardless of how intelligent it might be in chimpanzee terms, could write the Eroica symphony. And despite all the accumulated scientific information that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that evolution is not progressive, that it can move as easily toward simplicity as toward complexity, this does not seem to have happened with humans. The paleontological history of the human species that has been unearthed by scientists over the last century and a half looks to the nonscientific rest of the world (and indeed to many scientists) like a remarkable, continuous, and accelerating progression toward a goal. That goal is undoubtedly ourselves, Homo sapiens sapiens. This progression of human evolution is obvious to anyone, not only to Nobel Prize-winning philosophers like Henri Bergson or to puzzled, tormented theologians like Teilhard." (Wills, C.J., "The Runaway Brain: The Evolution of Human Uniqueness," , HarperCollins: London, Reprinted, 1994, pp.78-79) 8/02/2007 "Moreover, opportunistically it is appropriate to speculate on the grand design of biological evolution because there are good reasons for concluding that it is at the end of its last great creative era, which is hominid evolution as told in this book. The steep climb up to the evolutionary pinnacle of Homo sapiens sapiens has been described in the preceding chapters. It seems truly to be a pinnacle because we are at the close of the effective operation of natural selection with survival of the fittest ... " (Eccles, J.C., "Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self," , Routledge: London, Reprint, 1995, pp.239-240) 8/02/2007 "I like to imagine myself (see Eccles, 1979) as a disembodied spirit observing Planet Earth in its initial prebiotic existence governed by the laws of physics and inorganic chemistry. Then there came mysteriously and unobtrusively the origin of life some 3.6 byBP and the unimaginably slow biological processes of the creation of the nucleotides and proteins with the biochemical developments of the genetic codes with mutations and natural selection. The biological creativity that was eventually unleashed was beyond all imagining - the generation of untold millions of biological species with their flourishing and eventual extinction (Mayr, 1963, 1982; Simpson, 1964). It can be asked whether, given all understanding and wisdom, it would have been possible for some observer to predict the future course of evolution to hominid evolution. Dobzhansky (1967) has replied with a resounding No! Yet after hundreds of millions of years the disembodied observer of the supernatural drama of biological evolution will witness in quite recent times (10 myBP) the split off of the hominid line from the pongid line ..., which leads on to the scenario of this book. As biological evolutionists we have to believe that this supreme happening could not have been predicted even in its crudest outline! We can conjecture that for a brief phase of biological evolution a window into the future was opened with the splitting off of the hominid line that through Australopithecus came to Homo ... Doubtless in this creative opening there could have been most complex hominoid transactions between Aegyptopithecus, Ramapithecus, and Dryopithecus. All we can conjecture is that the `window' opened only once. There is no chance that from now and into the future some pongids will start a new evolutionary line rivalling or even surpassing the hominid line. But for that stupendous hominid eventuality, Planet Earth would have continued indefinitely with its biological `infestation', as it has been called. This is supremely wonderful in itself, but it would have been deemed to be forever conceptually dead, a continuing darkness without any glimmer of the transcendent illumination and meaning that has been given by the cultural evolution of the self-conscious, creating Homo sapiens sapiens." (Eccles, J.C., "Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self," , Routledge: London, Reprint, 1995, pp.239-240) 8/02/2007 "We can ask if there is some propensity for mutations to have a global design beyond the point mutations of phyletic gradualism, and that would lead to the evolutionary development of the human brain beyond its practical usefulness for survival as tested by natural selection. We may call this Wallace's problem ... " (Eccles, J.C., "Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self," , Routledge: London, Reprint, 1995, pp.239- 240) 8/02/2007 "The hominid evolutionary story ... is wonderful beyond any other story of Planet Earth or indeed of the whole cosmos. It is the background theme of the anthropic principle in its original simple version (Wheeler, 1974), and as outlined by Polkinghorne (1986). ... However ... the anthropic principle achieves a new dimension in the coming-to-be of each of us as unique self-conscious beings. It is this transcendence that has been the motive of my life's work, culminating in the effort to understand the brain in order to present the mind-brain problem in scientific terms ... I maintain that the human mystery is incredibly demeaned by scientific reductionism, with its claim in promissory materialism to account eventually for all of the spiritual world in terms of patterns of neuronal activity. This belief must be classed as a superstition. ... we have to recognize that we are spiritual beings with souls existing in a spiritual world ... as well as material beings with bodies and brains existing in a material world." (Eccles, J.C., "Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self," , Routledge: London, Reprint, 1995, p.241) 8/02/2007 "The realist position is that each of us finds itself on this wonderful spaceship, Planet Earth, with an attendant moon and in orbit around the sun with eight other planets that have atmospheric and climatic conditions extremely inimical to human life. However, encapsulated humans have already visited the moon and a similar visit to Mars will undoubtedly be accomplished. Such visits can only be for short periods and are immensely expensive. An elementary knowledge of human physiology eliminates forever any possibility of space travel beyond our solar system or any projected colonization of space. It can be stated emphatically that mankind is forever earth-bound. After death it would be otherwise if the soul survives bodily death and so escapes from the bondage to physics and physiology (Eccles, J.C., "Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self," , Routledge: London, Reprint, 1995, pp.241-242) 8/02/2007 "Realistically it has to be accepted that Homo sapiens sapiens will exist in countless generations into the future on this wonderful salubrious home, Planet Earth, which, as Harlow Shapley was fond of declaiming, is a relatively small rocky planet of no exalted status in the material order. Its orbit is not distinctive in the solar system and our sun is a medium-sized main sequence star far out in one of the arms of our galaxy with its 100,000 million other stars, one galaxy amongst 100,000 million other galaxies, all spawned from the Big Bang 17,000 million yBP. Yet on the anthropic principle our home on Planet Earth is the centre of the grand design. Each of us has woken up, as it were, with a human body and brain on this minute celestial object (Planet Earth) at less than 100,000 yBP from the evolutionary origin of Homo sapiens sapiens. Our very existence as a conscious self is a miracle ..." (Eccles, J.C., "Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self," , Routledge: London, Reprint, 1995, p.242) 8/02/2007 "There is such an inherent improbability that life can exist elsewhere in the cosmos and that it could evolve into intelligent beings that biologists tend to assume that human life on Planet Earth is inscrutably unique. Not surprisingly it is the astronomers who know no biology who propose that life will come popping up everywhere in the cosmos where the environment is appropriate. Moreover, even if life comes to exist and to evolve, it can have no deep meaning if it does not eventuate in some kind of hominid evolution as told in this book with the coming-to-be of intelligent creative beings. Space travel beyond the solar system is forever impossible, so Sagan and Drake have developed a listening system for coded messages on the wave length of hydrogen radiation. So far the record is cosmic silence!" (Eccles, J.C., "Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self," , Routledge: London, Reprint, 1995, p.242) 8/02/2007 "If mankind is meaningless then my personal existence cannot be meaningful. I must discover a hope for mankind in its historical development. The purpose of my life can only be a small part of mankind's larger purpose. It is, furthermore, inconceivable for mankind to have meaning if the universe has none. Man is involved in mankind, mankind in life, life in the planet earth, and earth in the universe. The universe of which mankind is a part must be meaningful. " (Dobzhansky, T.G., "The Biology of Ultimate Concern," , Fontana: London, Reprinted, 1971, p.108) 8/02/2007 "A faith which stands in flagrant contradiction with well-authenticated scientific findings cannot be right, but one in accord with such findings may nevertheless be wrong. Science discovers what exists; man has a longing to discover what ought to exist." (Dobzhansky, T.G., "The Biology of Ultimate Concern," , Fontana: London, Reprinted, 1971, pp.108-109) 8/02/2007 "Evolutionary changes taking place at any given time are conditioned by the changes which preceded them, and they will condition the changes that take place in the future. This is especially obvious in biological evolution-the evolutionary past of a living species is, as it were, inscribed in its genes. Evolution is not a collection of independent and unrelated happenings; it is a system of interrelated events. Life could not have arisen until cosmic evolution had produced at least one planet capable of supporting life. A being such as man, with a capacity for symbolic thinking and for self-awareness, could not have appeared until biological evolution had generated organisms with highly developed brains. Since certain evolutionary events could have happened only on the foundation of a series of preceding events, the history of the universe may be said to have an `orientation.' We may choose to call the evolutionary line that produced man the "privileged axis" of the evolutionary process." (Dobzhansky, T.G., "The Biology of Ultimate Concern," , Collins/Fontana: London, Reprinted, 1971, p.117) 8/02/2007 "`Orientation' may, however, be understood also in a different manner. The process of evolution may be oriented, guided, and propelled by some natural or supernatural agency. Evolution was then able to follow only a single path; so that its final outcome, as well as all the stages through which it had to pass, were predestined and have appeared in a certain fixed order in time. Some minority schools among biologists believe in such a foreordained orientation. For example, the finalists posit that all evolution occurred for the express purpose of producing man, and that evolutionary changes at all times were guided toward this goal by some supernatural power or powers. Another school maintains that evolution, at least biological evolution, is orthogenesis. The changes that occur are sequences of events determined by factors inside the organism, by the structure of its genetic endowment, and proceed straight toward a fixed objective, such as man. The evolutionary development follows, then, a predetermined path, and its final outcome is likewise predetermined. In contradistinction to finalism, orthogenesis does not necessarily assume supernatural forces guiding evolution. The favorite `explanation,' which is really nothing more than an attractive analogy, is that evolutionary development (phylogeny) is predetermined in the same way as is the development of an individual (ontogeny). A fertilized human egg cell does not contain a homunculus, a little human figure, and yet from this egg cell arises an embryo, which undergoes many complex transformations and growth and finally becomes an adult man. Did the bodies of our remotest ancestors, or even primordial life, contain all the rudiments needed to produce all evolutionary developments? If evolution is orthogenesis, then it is what the etymology of the word `evolution' implies, i.e., unfoldment of preexisting rudiments, like the development of a flower from a bud. Finalism and orthogenesis have this much in common: the evolutionary history of the living world was predestined at the beginning of life and even in primordial matter." (Dobzhansky, T.G., "The Biology of Ultimate Concern," , Fontana: London, Reprinted, 1971, pp.117-118) 9/02/2007 "Evidences for evolution There are many clear accounts of the evidences for the fact of evolutionary change, quite apart from the evidences of the mechanism of such change. These may be found in standard biology course books ... The evidence for the fact of evolution has not always been easy to interpret for those faced with it. Today you have probably been brought up to believe in the fact of evolution, so much so that you may accept it uncritically. This would be a pity. Have you, for example, ever unearthed a fossil from its bedded position? Conversely, you may have been reared in an attitude of hostility to evolutionary theory. You may have learned that fossils have been planted by the devil to divert people from the truth of the biblical Origin and Special Creation of 4004 BC. Special Creation can neither be disproved nor proved scientifically for it does not allow any predictions to be tested experimentally. Evolutionary theory is based on observation and deduction and in part upon experiments. Its strength lies in its plausibility." (Tomkins, S., "The Origins of Humankind," , Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, Second Edition, 1998, pp.3-4. Emphasis original) 9/02/2007 "The origin of life If one is to accept the fact of evolution, two intellectual questions must then be put and satisfactory answers found to them. How was it possible for life to start and by what evolutionary mechanism does it change? Darwin provided for us much of the answer to the second question ... The actual origin of life, however, is a puzzle but not an insuperable one and certainly not as difficult to conceive of as it was for Darwin over one hundred years ago. The Earth was physically formed soon after the beginning of our solar system about ten thousand million years ago. By the time that half of that span had elapsed life had most probably begun. Judging from our present knowledge of the solar system's planets the Earth is unusual. Had it been nearer or further from the Sun it would probably not have had its clothing of seas and water vapour. The physical properties of water are such as to reduce the great fluctuations of surface temperatures that we know to occur on planets without seas and water-laden atmospheres. Our moist atmosphere also filters out unduly damaging radiations. Such an ecological homeostasis for thousands of millions of years has made the evolution of life more plausible here than elsewhere in our solar system at least. On the basis of spectral analysis of the atmospheres of planets such as Jupiter, astronomers have postulated a chemically reducing atmosphere for the primitive Earth. Ammonia, methane, hydrogen and water, heated by volcanism and radiation and sparked through by lightning discharge could in theory produce seas of dissolved amino acids and other simple organic molecules. Stanley Miller, in a now classical experiment in 1953, replicated this atmosphere and these conditions and thereby synthesised amino acids in his Chicago laboratory. If one looks at the molecules common to all living things, the nucleic acids and proteins and their respective constituent units, the nucleotides and amino acids, we may find the possible key. An energised nucleotide, with two added phosphate groups, is ATP, the pivotal molecule in all energy transformations in cells. Yet the same nucleotides, as the nucleic acid polymers, provide not only a system of replication of prebiotic life, but also carry a coding system for the assembly of amino acids into proteins. In the role of enzymes, proteins may further catalyse syntheses and the release of energy from chemical bonds. A primordial soup of nucleotides and amino acids, with a source of energy such as light or that in other pre-formed organic molecules, could conceivably, by the operation of a pre-biotic natural selection, give rise to simple life forms. Such submicroscopic entities would have needed to have had a capacity for growth and accurate replication, and a means of harnessing and transforming energy in their environment to their own ends. They would then have been 'alive'. There were thousands of millions of years for the accident of life but once begun it followed its pattern of accumulating improbabilities. The first definite fossils of simple algal plants from rocks dated 2.5 thousand million years ago suggest that by then cellular forms existed. The slow march of evolution was already well under way." (Tomkins, S., "The Origins of Humankind," , Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, Second Edition, 1998, pp.6-7. Emphasis original) 9/02/2007 "Scientists themselves are of surprisingly little help. They find it difficult to talk of what they do because they tend to assume detailed knowledge is required for generalities to be understood. They find it hard to grasp the concept of the meaning of their work, assuming this to be a debate that takes place at a lower level than the specialized discussions with their colleagues. When they do generalize - or `popularize' as it is usually called with a noticeable degree of contempt - they tend to reveal a startling philosophical naivety. I once spoke to the physicist Stephen Hawking. In reply to one of my questions he quoted and, I believe, fundamentally misunderstood a remark of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Hawking repeats the quotation in his book -`The sole remaining task for philosophy is the analysis of language.' ' and derides the sentiment - `What a comedown ... !' I attempted to correct him, as I shall show later in this book Wittgenstein's insight has immense and profound implications. But Hawking simply would not listen. `I do not think so,' was his only response. This is a dangerous state of affairs. Scientists need to be observed and criticized more than any other members of society. I say this not just because of the horrors that might emerge from their laboratories, but also because of the necessity for making them as morally and philosophically answerable as the rest of us. This is the reason, above all others, why this particular history of science can only be written by a nonscientist. All accounts from within the temple of science are fatally flawed by the element, often unconscious, of defensive propaganda." (Appleyard, B., "Understanding the Present: Science and the Soul of Modern Man," Picador: London, 1992, pp.xii-xiii. Emphasis original) 10/02/2007 "Although `biologists concerned with the origin of life still often quote an early atmosphere consisting of reduced gases', this stems `as much from ignorance of recent advances as from active opposition to them'. This important conclusion is reached ... after a study of how the composition of the atmosphere of the Earth and other planets may have influenced surface temperatures since the planets formed [Henderson-Sellers, A., Benlow, A. & Meadows, A. J., "The early atmospheres of the terrestrial planets," Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp.74-81, 1980]. The reducing atmosphere of the older theories of the origin of the Earth would have been rich in methane, ammonia and hydrogen-similar, in fact, to the present atmospheres of the gas giants such as Jupiter. This idea held sway until the mid-1970s, with only a minority of scientists supporting the view that the original atmosphere of the Earth could have been highly oxidised, containing gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen. One reason for the popularity of the theory was that laboratory experiments had shown that molecules regarded as precursors to life could be built up by passing electric sparks or ultraviolet radiation through flasks containing a mixture of these reducing gases and water; however, more recently similar experiments have also successfully created complex `biological' molecules from atmospheres of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water. The more we have learnt about Venus and Mars the harder it is to explain how all three planets-two of them apparently lifeless- could have converted primeval reducing atmospheres into the oxidised atmospheres seen today. By making the opposite assumption, that the original atmospheres of all three planets were rich in carbon dioxide and water vapour, Meadows and his colleagues have investigated how the `predicted' values of surface temperature match up with the geological record. The surface temperature of a rocky planet at a certain distance from the Sun depends only on the Sun's temperature and the atmospheric greenhouse effect. Even allowing for the Sun to have been cooler early in its life, as astrophysical models suggest, the calculations show that for Earth the surface temperature has always been between the freezing and boiling points of water, Mars has always been too cold for liquid water, and Venus is prone to a runaway greenhouse effect (Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol 21, p 74). An interesting detail of the model is that it suggests an early peak of temperature on Earth, more than 3000 million years ago; perhaps more important is the fact that the constituents of the early atmosphere are now seen as being exactly the same gases that are released from the interior of the Earth by volcanic activity and outgassing today. And, of course, the model exactly fits the spacecraft observations which indicate the importance of oxidised atmospheres for Mars and Venus. The time has come, it seems, to accept as the new orthodoxy the idea of early oxidised atmospheres on all three terrestrial planets, and the biological primers which still tell of life on Earth starting out from a methane/ammonia atmosphere energised by electric storms and solar ultraviolet need to be rewritten." (Sutton, C., "Smaller Planets Began with Oxidized Atmosphere," New Scientist, Vol. 87, July 10, 1980, p.112) 10/02/2007 "Two closing thoughts, admittedly reflecting my personal prejudices: First, as a strong adherent to exobiology, that great subject without a subject matter (only theology may exceed us in this), I am delighted by the thought that life may be more intrinsic to planets of our size, position and composition than we had ever dared to imagine. I feel even more certain that we are not alone, and I hope that more effort will be directed toward the search for other civilizations by radio-telescope. The difficulties are legion, but a positive result would be the most stupendous discovery in human history." (Gould, S.J., "An Early Start," [Natural History, Vol. 87, No. 2, February 1978, pp.10-26] in "The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1990, p.187) 10/02/2007 "Secondly, I am led to wonder why the old, discredited orthodoxy of gradual origin ever gained such strong and general assent. Why did it seem so reasonable? Certainly not because any direct evidence supported it. I am, as several other essays emphasize, an advocate of the position that science is not an objective, truthdirected machine, but a quintessentially human activity, affected by passions, hopes, and cultural biases. Cultural traditions of thought strongly influence scientific theories often directing lines of speculation, especially (as in this case) when virtually no data exist to constrain either imagination or prejudice. In my own work ... I have been impressed by the powerful and unfortunate influence that gradualism has exerted on paleontology via the old motto natura non facit saltum ("nature does not make leaps"). Gradualism, the idea that all change must be smooth, slow, and steady, was never read from the rocks. It represented a common cultural bias, in part a response of nineteenth-century liberalism to a world in revolution. But it continues to color our supposedly objective reading of life's history." (Gould, S.J., "An Early Start," [Natural History, Vol. 87, No. 2, February 1978, pp.10-26] in "The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1990, pp.187-188) 10/02/2007 "In the light of gradualistic presuppositions, what other interpretation could have been placed upon the origin of life? It is an enormous step from the constituents of our original atmosphere to a DNA molecule. Therefore, the transition must have progressed laboriously through multitudes of intervening steps, one at a time, over billions of years. But the history of life, as I read it, is a series of stable states, punctuated at rare intervals by major events that occur with great rapidity and help to establish the next stable era. Prokaryotes ruled the earth for three billion years until the Cambrian explosion, when most major designs of multicellular life appeared within ten million years. Some 375 million years later, about half the families of invertebrates became extinct within a few million years. The earth's history may be modeled as a series of occasional pulses, driving recalcitrant systems from one stable state to the next. Physicists tell us that the elements may have formed during the first few minutes of the big bang; billions of subsequent years have only reshuffled the products of this cataclysmic creation. Life did not arise with such speed, but I suspect that it originated in a tiny fraction of its subsequent duration. But the reshuffling and subsequent evolution of DNA have not simply recycled the original products; they have produced wonders." (Gould, S.J., "An Early Start," [Natural History, Vol. 87, No. 2, February 1978, pp.10-26] in "The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1990, pp.187-188) 10/02/2007 "Life depends on oxygen and carbon being roughly equal in their cosmic abundances. If either one dominated markedly over the other, life would not be possible. The requirement is for oxygen to be rather more abundant than carbon, which is exactly how things actually stand. Both of these elements are produced from helium by nuclear reactions that occur inside stars, the details of which are quite well understood. So far from the abundances coming out correctly in an unavoidable way, it turns out that getting conditions right depends on a couple of curious properties, one a property of the carbon nucleus, the other of the oxygen nucleus. (Both the 7.65 Mev level of the carbon nucleus, and the 7.12 Mev level of the oxygen nucleus, must be tuned very closely indeed to these particular energy values.) If we did not know from laboratory experience that everything is the way it should be, if in ignorance we had to set a chance of things coming out appropriately, the chance might be estimated at about 1 part in 1000. In the past the favourable nuclear properties had been thought of as curiosities, lucky accidents of physics, without which life could not exist. It was as if a child had twiddled the tuning knob of a radio receiver, and then when you yourself switched on the receiver the tuning just happened by accident to be on exactly the station you were seeking, except that the accident was there twice, once for the carbon nucleus and once for the oxygen nucleus." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Evolution from Space," , Granada: London, Reprinted, 1983, pp.154-155) 10/02/2007 "The measure of intelligence needed to control the properties of the oxygen and carbon nuclei would be exceedingly high. The so-called coupling constants of physics are numbers which appear in science empirically. That is to say, they are numbers that we determine by reference to observation rather than from logical argument. The basic unit of electrical charge (the charge of the electron) is one such number. So far as the consistency of physics is concerned the unit of electrical charge could apparently have an infinity of values other than the value we assign to it from observation. It is the coupling constants which determine the favourable aspects of physics, like the favourable properties of the carbon and oxygen nuclei. It would be through exercising control over the coupling constants that an intelligence might determine a wide range of features of the universe. The remarkable chemical behaviour of the carbon atom and the remarkable electronic properties of the silicon chip are other crucial examples of properties which might be controlled in this way. It will be apparent that we have moved on now to an altogether higher level of intelligence than the silicon chip. Calculating the properties of the enzymes would surely be an amazing achievement, judged from the human level, but likely enough it would seem rather a simple matter to an intelligence that could control the coupling constants of physics. In astronomical terms, control over the origin of life is probably equivalent to controlling processes on the scale of stars, whereas control of the coupling constants is probably equivalent to controlling processes on the scale of galaxies." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Evolution from Space," , Granada: London, Reprinted, 1983, pp.154-155) 10/02/2007 "Over the quarter of a century since these properties of oxygen and carbon were discovered, the disposition of astronomers has been to shy away from the thought that the situation might be deliberate. There is a mental trick one can easily play, both here and in respect of several other favourable provisions of physics. The trick begins with a correct statement, namely that if things had been otherwise there would have been no life, in which case we ourselves would not have been around to think about the problem. So far so good. Then comes an inversion of the logic. Because we are here, the argument continues, the favourable provisions of physics must hold, and therefore no problem exists. Our existence fixes the physics. The argument is really not much better than the logic of the following question and answer: Q. Why is A taller than B? A. Because A is 6 ft 1 in. tall whereas B is only 5 ft 9 in." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Evolution from Space," , Granada: London, Reprinted, 1983, p.155. Emphasis original) 10/02/2007 "If a random inorganic origin of life could have been maintained, then one could not have made too much out of this situation. Everything would be the result of chance. Once we see, however, that the probability of life originating at random is so utterly minuscule as to make the random concept absurd, it becomes sensible to think that the favourable properties of physics on which life depends are in every respect deliberate." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Evolution from Space," , Granada: London, Reprinted, 1983, pp.155-156) 10/02/2007 "The logical system is now closed, leaving no inherentlybaffling questions, except one. The remaining conundrum is: Why is there anything at all? Of course one can play the usual anthropic trick of saying that if there was nothing, there would be nobody to ask the question. But this is an evasion, not an answer. Nor would it be an answer for a physicist to argue that the universe is created by particle pairs emerging from the vacuum, because the physical properties of the vacuum would still be needed, and this would be something. (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Evolution from Space," , Granada: London, Reprinted, 1983, pp.158-159) 10/02/2007 "Chemical Evolution OPARIN in 1924 and more fully in 1938, proposed a testable, materialistic hypothesis consisting of two main propositions. The first proposition detailed the manner of abiotic synthesis of organic compounds from a primordial atmosphere of gases, and the second discussed at length the origin of microsystems (coacervates) and their subsequent evolution to the level of living things. HARRISON and co-workers (1951) in 1951 in Calvin's laboratory, and MILLER in 1953 and 1955 in Urey's laboratory, experimentally established the validity of Oparin's first proposition. The MILLER experiments, which more closely followed (1959) Oparin's thinking, were more successful and are credited with having attracted world-wide attention once more to the problem. Thus began the accumulation of data on abiotic organic chemical synthesis which has been characterized by the term `Chemical Evolution' (CALVIN, 1956)." (Keosian, J., "The Crisis in the Problem of the Origin of Life," in Noda, H., ed., "Origin of Life: Proceedings of the Second ISSOL Meeting, the Fifth ICOL Meeting," Center for Academic Publications: Japan, 1978, pp.569-574, p.570. Emphasis original) 10/02/2007 "Chemical evolution is a misnamed and misleading offspring of the central problem. The appearance of organic compounds in probiotic times was not an evolutionary process in the sense that chemical species evolved from one another. Rather, the organic compounds that did form were the result mainly of separate lines of synthesis. Organic chemical accumulation, not evolution, was the result. Further, the term `chemical evolution' is misleading because it channels thinking into the assumption that, in time, complex compounds and biochemicals arose in the primordial atmosphere and waters culminating in the more or less sudden origin of life therefrom." (Keosian, J., "The Crisis in the Problem of the Origin of Life," in Noda, H., ed., "Origin of Life: Proceedings of the Second ISSOL Meeting, the Fifth ICOL Meeting," Center for Academic Publications: Japan, 1978, pp.569-574, p.571. Emphasis original) 10/02/2007 "As a result, most present theories on the origin of life rely on the preexistence of a great abundance and variety of organic and biochemical compounds. MILLER'S 1955 report listed a number of relatively simple organic compounds, some of which are identical to present-day cell components, some related to or derivatives of these, and some unrelated to contemporary biochemistry. In the next few years, reports by other investigators confirmed these findings in general. Later work in this field seems to be based on the tacit assumption that the primordial waters resembled a `soup' containing all of the biochemicals necessary for the spontaneous origin and subsequent nourishment of the first living thing(s). The quest is still on to confirm this view. The list of biochemicals claimed to have been synthesized under probiotic conditions is impressively long." (Keosian, J., "The Crisis in the Problem of the Origin of Life," in Noda, H., ed., "Origin of Life: Proceedings of the Second ISSOL Meeting, the Fifth ICOL Meeting," Center for Academic Publications: Japan, 1978, pp.569-574, p.571. Emphasis original) 10/02/2007 "No single experiment yields the whole gamut of listed compounds, pathways, and mechanisms. In different cases, different techniques have had to be used. Experimental design has varied from familiar laboratory glassware to intricate apparatus of special design, necessitating the manipulation of reactions that require specific durations and sequences not conceivable in a probiotic environment. Many experiments, targeted to the synthesis of a specific compound, produce nothing else. Such selectivity in the probiotic environment was unlikely. Experiments have been performed under a wide variety of conditions, some admittedly not probiotic, and some that are mutually exclusive. Translated into abiotic synthesis in probiotic times, it must therefore be assumed that the spectrum of compounds from laboratory syntheses could not have existed in any one probiotic locality, since abiotic synthesis of different compounds would have required different probiotic conditions scattered over wide areas and over different periods." (Keosian, J., "The Crisis in the Problem of the Origin of Life," in Noda, H., ed., "Origin of Life: Proceedings of the Second ISSOL Meeting, the Fifth ICOL Meeting," Center for Academic Publications: Japan, 1978, pp.569-574, p.571) 10/02/2007 "Most of the experiments on chemical evolution are claimed to have been performed under simulated probiotic conditions. Strictly speaking, none of the experiments can be so characterized. For obvious reasons, experiments are performed within the confined space of laboratory apparatus. But the results of reactions taking place within a confined space may differ from the results of the same reactions occurring in a relatively limitless space. Volatile products cannot escape but remain to enter other reactions. A product of low solubility can accumulate beyond its solubility product and form a precipitate which may differentially influence the course of other reactions. In vast oceans, this may never take place. Judging from the great amount of colloid formed in proportion to other products, in Miller-type and similar apparatus, the primordial oceans must have been thick with colloid. More likely, a disproportionate amount of colloid is formed experimentally due to the confined space. In such experiments the influence of colloid on the nature and direction of other reactions needs investigation. Further, potential reactants among the first generation of products can reach a reaction level early, whereas, in a vast space this may never occur. These are some of the factors to be considered when reactions are confined to experiments performed under alleged probiotic conditions. PATTEE (1965) suggested a more valid setting measured in hundreds of cubic meters and containing sand, simulated tides, and alternating day and night." (Keosian, J., "The Crisis in the Problem of the Origin of Life," in Noda, H., ed., "Origin of Life: Proceedings of the Second ISSOL Meeting, the Fifth ICOL Meeting," Center for Academic Publications: Japan, 1978, pp.569-574, pp.571-572. Emphasis original) 10/02/2007 "The claims of chemical evolution are unreal. We are asked to believe that biochemical compounds, biochemical reactions and mechanisms, energy metabolism and storage, specific polymerizations, codes, transcription and translation apparatus, and more, appeared in probiotic waters with the functions they would have in a living thing before there were living things. Chemical evolution has become an end in itself. In many cases it represents contrived or ingenious laboratory syntheses which have no counterpart in abiotic organic chemical synthesis in an acceptable range of probiotic conditions. There is no point in further pursuing this line of investigation to add more biochemicals to the list. Let it be assumed that the probiotic waters contained all of the material that "chemical evolution" is supposed to have brought about. Then how, and in what form, could life have arisen from such a scattered melange ? That question must be answered, if there is an answer, to give meaning and direction to the pursuit of chemical evolution, otherwise that pursuit will continue to be an endless series of laboratory experiments unrelated to the central problem. There has been a good deal of uncritical acceptance of experiments, results, and conclusion which we are all too ready to acknowledge because they support preconceived convictions." (Keosian, J., "The Crisis in the Problem of the Origin of Life," in Noda, H., ed., "Origin of Life: Proceedings of the Second ISSOL Meeting, the Fifth ICOL Meeting," Center for Academic Publications: Japan, 1978, pp.569-574, p.572) 11/02/2007 "To avoid the ludicrous, we must write: ... ---> ????? ---> ???? ---> ??? ---> ??-? ---> man ---> ... The correct position we think is: there is such a sequence, and among the question marks to the left of man there is a term in the sequence, an intelligence, which designed the biochemicals and gave rise to the origin of carbonaceous life. Still further to the left there is another still higher level of intelligence that controlled the coupling constants of physics. ... The sequence displayed above would not make sense unless each level of intelligence was contained in all those levels to the left of it in the sequence. It is therefore almost inevitable that our own measure of intelligence must reflect in a valid way the higher intelligences to our left, even to the extreme idealized limit of God." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Evolution from Space," , Granada: London, Reprinted, 1983, pp.158-159. Emphasis original) 11/02/2007 "I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I'm a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time." (Asimov, I., "An Interview with Isaac Asimov on Science and the Bible," Free Inquiry, Vol. 2, Spring 1982 p. 9. "Atheism," Wikiquote) 11/02/2007 "John von Neumann, another giant in information theory and a contemporary of Wiener, saw clearly the application of this truth to biology. In a 1955 letter to the physicist George Gamow, he wrote: `I shudder at the thought that highly efficient purposive organizational elements, like the protein, should originate in a random process.'" [Heims, S.J., "John Von Neumann and Norbert Wiener: From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death," MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1982, p.154]." (Rogland, R., "Pre-Programmed Descent with Modification: Functional Integrity, Intelligent Design, and Natural History," Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 52, June 2000, pp.98-107) 11/02/2007 "Today, researchers from The Weizmann Institute of Science report the discovery of two new properties of the genetic code. Their work, which appears online in Genome Research, shows that the genetic code- used by organisms as diverse as reef coral, termites, and humans-is nearly optimal for encoding signals of any length in parallel to sequences that code for proteins. In addition, they report that the genetic code is organized so efficiently that when the cellular machinery misses a beat during protein synthesis, the process is promptly halted before energy and resources are wasted. `Our findings open the possibility that genes can carry additional, currently unknown codes,' explains Dr. Uri Alon, principal investigator on the project. `These findings point at possible selection forces that may have shaped the universal genetic code.' The genetic code consists of 61 codons-tri-nucleotide sequences of DNA-that encode 20 amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. In addition, three codons signal the cellular machinery to stop protein synthesis after a full-length protein is built. While the best-known function of genes is to code for proteins, the DNA sequences of genes also harbor signals for folding, organization, regulation, and splicing. These DNA sequences are typically a bit longer: from four to 150 or more nucleotides in length. Alon and his doctoral student Shalev Itzkovitz compared the real genetic code to alternative, hypothetical genetic codes with equivalent codon-amino acid assignment characteristics. Remarkably, Itzkovitz and Alon showed that the real genetic code was superior to the vast majority of alternative genetic codes in terms of its ability to encode other information in protein-coding genes-such as splice sites, mRNA secondary structure, or regulatory signals. Itzkovitz and Alon also demonstrated that the real genetic code provides for the quickest incorporation of a stop signal-compared to most of the alternative genetic codes-in cases where protein synthesis has gone amiss (situations that scientists call `frameshift errors'). This helps the cell to conserve its energy and resources. `We think that the ability to carry parallel codes-or information beyond the amino acid code-may be a side effect of selection for avoiding aberrant protein synthesis,' says Itzkovitz. `These parallel codes were probably exploited during evolution to allow genes to support a wide range of signals to regulate and modify biological processes in cells.' The results of this study will be useful for researchers seeking to identify DNA sequences that regulate the expression and function of the genome. Many currently known regulatory sequences reside in non-protein-coding regions, but this may give scientists incentive to delve deeper into the protein-coding genes in order to solve life's mysteries." (Smit, M., "The code of codes -- Scientists discover parallel codes in genes: The genetic code is nearly optimal for harboring information," EurekAlert! , 8 February 2007) 12/02/2007 "Failure to recognize that all creationists accepted selection in this negative role led Eiseley to conclude falsely that Darwin had `borrowed' the principle of natural selection from his predecessor E. Blyth [Eiseley, L.C., "Darwin and the Mysterious Mr X," Dutton: New York. 1979]. The Reverend William Paley's classic work Natural Theology, published in 1803, also contains many references to selective elimination." (Gould, S.J., "Darwinism and the Expansion of Evolutionary Theory," Science, Vol. 216, 23 April 1982, pp.380-87, p.387) 12/02/2007 "There's no doubt at all that natural selection works-it's been repeatedly demonstrated by experiment. But the question of whether it produces new species is quite another matter. No one has ever produced a new species by means of natural selection, no one has ever got near it, and most of the current argument in neo-Darwinism is about this question." (Patterson, C., in Leith, B., "Are the Reports of Darwin's Death Exaggerated?," The Listener, BBC, Vol. 105, 8 October 1981, p.390, pp.390-392. Bird, W.R.*, "The Origin of Species Revisited," Regency: Nashville TN, 1991, Vol. I, pp.161 & 253n) 12/02/2007 "In my view the most important outcome of cladistics is that a simple, even naive method of discovering the groups of systematics-what used to be called the natural system-has led some of us to realise that much of today's explanation of nature, in terms of neo-Darwinism or the synthetic theory, may be empty rhetoric." [Patterson, C., "Cladistics," Biologist Vol. 27, 1980, pp.234-40]" (Leith, B., "The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinism," Collins: London, 1982, pp.96-97) 12/02/2007 "The idea of ancestry turns out to be a kind of logical trap. It seemed to the early Darwinians, and presumably to many Darwinians now, that building up the tree of life was just a matter of time, a matter of finding the right fossils, linking them up in the correct ways and before long the whole history of life would be there before us as revealed truth or unshakeable fact. It never worked out like that and it wasn't until the development of cladistics that anyone realised why that was. And the reason is a fairly simple one: one recognises relationship between organisms by characters but there is nothing one can say about an ancestor that will relate it to its descendants-the concept of ancestry is not accessible by the tools we have. One can search out one's own ancestry by means of parish registers and so on, but going further back into the past there's no handle to get hold of, no way of doing it" [Patterson, C., "Are the reports of Darwin's death exaggerated?," BBC Radio 4, October, 1981]" (Leith, B., "The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinism," Collins: London, 1982, pp.101-102) 12/02/2007 "Just as pre-Darwinian biology was carried out by people whose faith was in the Creator and His plan, post- Darwinian biology is being carried out by people whose faith is in, almost, the deity of Darwin. They've seen their task as to elaborate his theory and to fill in the gaps in it, to fill in the trunk and twigs of the tree. But it seems to me that the theoretical framework has very little impact on the actual progress of the work in biological research. In a way some aspects of Darwinism and of neo-Darwinism seem to me to have held back the progress of science ... There is an extraordinary ferment going on within evolutionary biology at the moment. Where it will lead I wouldn't pretend to guess. I think that the general theory-that evolution has taken place-will remain, but that more people may come to realise that it is not essential to doing biological research to believe in it. [Patterson, C., "Are the reports of Darwin's death exaggerated?," BBC Radio 4, October, 1981]" (Leith, B., "The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinism," Collins: London, 1982, p.109) 12/02/2007 "BLASPHEMY connotes a word or deed that directs insolence to the character of God, Christian truth or sacred things. In its purest form blasphemy is `a deliberate and direct attack upon the honor of God with intent to insult him' (NCE 2, p. 606). A violation of the third commandment (Ex. 20:7; Dt. 5:11), blasphemy robs God of his majesty and holiness and thus is regarded by Scripture as a heinous sin. In Scripture the greatest incidence of blasphemy is against God himself (Lv. 24:11-23; Is. 52:5; Ezk. 20:27; Rev. 13:6; 16:9, 11, 21). Others blasphemed are Christ (Acts 26:11) and the Holy Spirit (Mt. 12:24-32; Mk. 3:22-30; Lk. 12:10). `The blasphemy against the Spirit' referred to in the above texts is no specific sin, such as denial of the Spirit's divinity, but that disposition of deliberate hostility to the power of God actualized through the third person of the Trinity which precludes a person's contrition and repentance (cf. 1 Jn. 5:16). Also blasphemed, as the Gk. text makes clear, are the word of God (Ps. 107:11; Is. 5:24), angels (Jude 8, 10), Christian teaching (1 Tim. 6:1) and Christian believers (Acts 13:45; 18:6; 1 Cor. 4:13). Blasphemy is committed not only by slanderous words (Lv. 24:11, 15-16), but also by denying Christ (1 Tim. 1:13), the practice of idolatry (Ne. 9:18, 26), false teaching (1 Tim. 1:20), oppression of the saints (Is. 52:5), insulting the poor (Jas. 2:6-7) and profession without practice (Rom. 2:24; 2 Tim. 3:2)." (Demarest, B.*, "Blasphemy," in Ferguson, S.B., et al., eds., "New Dictionary of Theology," Inter-Varsity Press: Leicester UK, 1988, p.105.. Emphasis original) 12/02/2007 Mt 12:31-32. "31And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." Mk 3:28-29. "28I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. 29But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin." Lk 12:10 "10And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven." 1 Jn 5:16-17. "16If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. 17All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death." 12/02/2007 "MATTHEW 12:30-32 ... 31-32. Matthew has here brought together two related and puzzling sayings found in Mark 3:28-29 and in Luke 12:10, so that the interpretation of each is governed by the other. The saying in Mark contrasts blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (which is unforgivable) with all other sins and blasphemies (which may be forgiven); that in Luke specifies the forgivable blasphemy as speaking a word against the Son of man. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (i.e. against the manifest activity of God, as seen in v. 28) is more serious than other forms of slander and abuse (blasphemia is usually speech against God in the LXX, but in secular Greek it is used also of slander generally; so also in Rom. 3:8; 1 Cor. 10:30); it indicates a deliberate refusal to acknowledge God's power, a totally perverted orientation, like that of Isaiah 5:20 ('those who call evil good and good evil'). This was what the Pharisees were doing in attributing Jesus' healings to Satanic power. Is the Son of man then on a lower level, less than divine, that he can be slandered with impunity? Rather the incognito character of Jesus' ministry means that failure to recognize him for what he was might be excusable (cf. Acts 3:17); even Peter 'spoke against' him (26:69-75) and was forgiven. The difference is then between failure to recognize the light and deliberate rejection of it once recognized; cf. Numbers 15:30-31 for unforgivable blasphemy in contrast with unwitting sin in w. 27-29. At Qumran slander of one's fellow was forgivable after penance, but slander against the community brought permanent expulsion from it (1QS 7:15-17). But the punishment for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not only on earth, but extends to the age to come; it indicates a hardening against God which is deliberate and irreversible. ... . Ultimately only God can know when an individual's opposition to his work has reached this stage of irreversible rejection." (France, R.T.*, "Matthew: An Introduction and Commentary," The Tyndale New Testament commentaries, Inter-Varsity Press: Leicester UK, 1985, pp.210-211.. Emphasis original) 12/02/2007 "MARK 3:27-30 ... 28-30. This leads to one of the most solemn pronouncements and warnings in the whole of the New Testament, coupled, as often, with one of the greatest promises. There is forgiveness with God for every sin and blasphemy except one, which may be the deadly sin of which John speaks so cautiously in 1 John 5:16. This is the sin of the wilfully blind, who persistently refuse the illumination of the Spirit, oppose the Spirit's work, and justify themselves in doing so by deliberately misrepresenting Him. For such, there can be no forgiveness, for they have refused the only way of forgiveness that God has provided: indeed, they have slammed the door (verse 30)." (Cole, R.A.*, "The Gospel According to Mark: An Introduction and Commentary," The Tyndale New Testament commentaries, , Inter-Varsity Press Leicester UK, 1989, Second Edition, pp.222-223. Emphasis original) 12/02/2007 "LUKE 12:8-10 ... 10. This leads to the solemn thought that there is a sin so serious that it cannot be forgiven. Jesus introduces this with the statement that a word spoken against Himself can be forgiven. This does not mean that such a word is a trifle. The preceding verse has shown something of the dignity of the Son of man: He is not to be taken lightly. Yet even sin against this august personage may be forgiven. Men may blaspheme but then repent; the blasphemy is not their final word. But he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit is in a much worse case. We must understand this, not of the uttering of any form of words, but of the set of the life. This blasphemy is so serious because it concerns the whole man, not a few words spoken on any one occasion. Matthew and Mark put these words in connection with the Beelzebul controversy and this helps us to get the meaning. Then Jesus' opponents attributed His works of mercy to the devil. They called good evil. Men in such a situation cannot repent and seek forgiveness: they lack a sense of sin; they reject God's competence to declare what is right. It is this continuing attitude that is the ultimate sin. God's power to forgive is not abated. But this kind of sinner no longer has the capacity to repent and believe." (Morris, L.*, "The Gospel According to Luke: An Introduction and Commentary," The Tyndale New Testament commentaries, , Inter-Varsity Press Leicester UK, Reprinted, 1986, pp.210-211. Emphasis original) 12/02/2007 "Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit. A sin mentioned only in Mark 3:28-29; Luke 12:10; Matt. 12:32. The context in Mark makes it clear that this sin is not just any serious moral failure, or persistence in sin, or insulting or rejecting Jesus or God due to ignorance or rebellion: it is the willful and conscious rejection of God's activity and its attribution to the devil. The Pharisees saw a notable miracle and heard Jesus' own teaching, but they chose darkness (John 3:19) and called good evil (Isa. 5:20) by attributing the miracle to the devil. It is the enlightened, willful, high-handed nature of such a sin that makes it unforgivable (not forgiven at death, as the Jews thought, but punished through eternity). First John 5:16 speaks of a sin unto death and Heb. 6:4-6 speaks of those no agreement can bring to repentance: that is this type of sin. The person is not ignorant, but chooses to reject God, to call God the devil. There is nothing more that can be said to such a person, nor any miracle or evidence that would help him. By definition, then, no one who worries over committing this sin could have done it, for it rules out a troubled conscience. Instead it stands as a severe warning to those who know God's truth not to turn from it or to abandon their faith. " (Davids, P.H.*, "Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit," in Elwell, W.A., ed., "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology," , Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1990, Seventh Printing, pp.161-162. Emphasis original) 13/02/2007 "Even though we have no direct evidence for smooth transitions, can we invent a reasonable sequence of intermediate forms-that is, viable, functioning organisms-between ancestors and descendants in major structural transitions? Of what possible use are the imperfect incipient stages of useful structures? What good is half a jaw or half a wing? The concept of preadaptation provides the conventional answer by permitting us to argue that incipient stages performed different functions. The half-jaw worked perfectly well as a series of gill-supporting bones; the half wing may have trapped prey or controlled body temperature. I regard preadaptation as an important, even an indispensable, concept. But a plausible story is not necessarily true." (Gould, S.J., "The Return of the Hopeful Monster," [Natural History, Vol. 86, June/July 1977, pp.22-30] in "The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1990, p.157) 13/02/2007 "I do not doubt that preadaptation can save gradualism in some cases, but does it permit us to invent a tale of continuity in most or all cases? I submit, although it may only reflect my lack of imagination, that the answer is no, and I invoke two recently supported cases of discontinuous change in my defense. On the isolated island of Mauritius, former home of the dodo, two genera of boid snakes (a large group that includes pythons and boa constrictors) share a feature present in no other terrestrial vertebrate: the maxillary bone of the upper jaw is split into front and rear halves, connected by a movable joint. In 1970, my friend Tom Frazzetta published a paper entitled "From Hopeful Monsters to Bolyerine Snakes." [Frazzetta, T.H. "From Hopeful Monsters to Bolyerine Snakes?" American Naturalist, Vol. 104, January- February 1970, pp.55-72] He considered every preadaptive possibility he could imagine and rejected them in favour of discontinuous transition. How can a jawbone be half broken?" (Gould, S.J., "The Return of the Hopeful Monster," [Natural History, Vol. 86, June/July 1977, pp.22-30] in "The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1990, pp.157-158) 13/02/2007 "If we must accept many cases of discontinuous transition in macroevolution, does Darwinism collapse to survive only as a theory of minor adaptive change within species? The essence of Darwinism lies in a single phrase: natural selection is the major creative force of evolutionary change. No one denies that natural selection will play a negative role in eliminating the unfit. Darwinian theories require that it create the fit as well. Selection must do this by building adaptations in a series of steps, preserving at each stage the advantageous part in a random spectrum of genetic variability. Selection must superintend the process of creation, not just toss out the misfits after some other force suddenly produces a new species, fully formed in pristine perfection." (Gould, S.J., "The Return of the Hopeful Monster," [Natural History, Vol. 86, June/July 1977, pp.22-30] in "The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1990, p.158) 13/02/2007 "We can well imagine such a non-Darwinian theory of discontinuous change-profound and abrupt genetic alteration luckily (now and then) making a new species all at once. Hugo de Vries, the famous Dutch botanist supported such a theory early in this century. But these notions seem to present insuperable difficulties. With whom shall Athena born from Zeus's brow mate? All her relatives are members of another species. What is the chance of producing Athena in the first place, rather than a deformed monster? Major disruptions of entire genetic systems do not produce favored or even viable creatures." (Gould, S.J., "The Return of the Hopeful Monster," [Natural History, Vol. 86, June/July 1977, pp.22-30] in "The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1990, pp.158-159) 13/02/2007 "But all theories of discontinuous change are not anti-Darwinian, as Huxley pointed out nearly 120 years ago. Suppose that a discontinuous change in adult form arises from a small genetic alteration. Problems of discordance with other members of the species do not arise, and the large, favorable variant can spread through a population in Darwinian fashion. Suppose also that this large change does not produce a perfected form all at once, but rather serves as a `key' adaptation to shift its possessor toward a new mode of life. Continued success in this new mode may require a large set of collateral alterations, morphological and behavioral; these may arise by a more traditional, gradual route once the key adaptation forces a profound shift in selective pressures." (Gould, S.J., "The Return of the Hopeful Monster," [Natural History, Vol. 86, June/July 1977, pp.22-30] in "The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1990, p.159) 14/02/2007 "One of the most frequent objections against the theory of natural selection is that it is a sophisticated tautology. Most evolutionary biologists seem unconcerned about the charge and only make a token effort to explain the tautology away. The remainder, such as Professors Waddington and Simpson, will simply concede the fact. For them, natural selection is a tautology which states a heretofore unrecognized relation: The fittest-defined as those who will leave the most offspring-will leave the most offspring. What is most unsettling is that some evolutionary biologists have no qualms about proposing tautologies as explanations. One would immediately reject any lexicographer who tried to define a word by the same word, or a thinker who merely restated his proposition, or any other instance of gross redundancy; yet no one seems scandalized that men of science should be satisfied with a major principle which is no more than a tautology." (Pesely, G.A, "The Epistemological Status of Natural Selection," Laval Théologique et Philosophique, Vol. 38, No. 1, February 1982, pp.61-76, p.74. In Morris, H.M.*, "Evolution in Turmoil: An Updated Sequel to The Troubled Waters of Evolution," Creation-Life Publishers: San Diego CA, 1982, pp.40-41) 14/02/2007 "Once upon a time, it all looked so simple. Nature rewarded the fit with the carrot of survival and punished the unfit with the stick of extinction. The trouble only started when it came to defining 'fitness'. Are pygmies fitter than giants, brunettes fitter than blondes, left-handers fitter than right-handers? What exactly are the criteria of 'fitness'? The first answer that comes to mind is: the fittest are obviously those who survive longest. But when we talk about the evolution of species, the lifespan of individuals is irrelevant (it may be a day for some insects, a century for tortoises); what matters is how many offspring they produce in their lifetime. Thus natural selection looks after the survival and reproduction of the fittest, and the fittest are those which have the highest rate of reproduction - we are caught in a circular argument which completely begs the question of what makes evolution evolve. This lethal flaw in the theory was recognized by leading evolutionists (Mayr, Simpson, Waddington, Haldane, etc.) several decades ago [Macbeth, N.*, "Darwin Retried," Boston, 1971]; it was and is, as I said, an open secret." (Koestler, A., "Janus: A Summing Up," Picador: London, 1983, p.170. Emphasis original) 14/02/2007 "However, since no satisfactory alternative was in sight, the crumbling edifice had to be defended. Thus Sir Julian Huxley in 1953: `So far as we know, not only is Natural Selection inevitable, not only is it an effective agency of evolution, but it is the only effective agency of evolution. [Huxley's italics.]" [Huxley, J.S., "Evolution in Action," , Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, Reprinted, 1963, p.42]. (Koestler, A., "Janus: A Summing Up," Picador: London, 1983, p.170)
* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed not to be evolutionists.
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