Stephen E. Jones

Creation/Evolution Quotes: Unclassified quotes: November 2007

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The following are quotes added to my Unclassified Quotes database in November 2007.
The date format is dd/mm/yy. See copyright conditions at end.

[Index: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Dec]


3/11/2007
"evolution Changes in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations. The 
gradual development of more complex organisms from simpler ones." (Walker, P.M.B., ed., "Cambridge 
Dictionary of Biology," [1989], Cambridge University Press: New York NY, 1990, Reprinted, pp.105-106. 
Emphasis original)

3/11/2007
"evolution an explanation of the way in which present-day organisms have been produced, involving 
changes taking place in the genetic make-up of populations that have been passed on to successive 
generations. According to DARWINISM, evolutionary MUTATIONS have given rise to changes that have, 
through NATURAL SELECTION, either survived in better adapted organisms (See ADAPTATION, 
GENETIC), or died out. Evolution is now generally accepted as the means which gives rise to new species 
(as opposed to SPECIAL CREATION) but there is still debate about exactly how it has taken place and how 
rapidly changes can take place." (Hale, W.G., Margham, J.P. & Saunders, V.A., "Collins Dictionary of 
Biology," [1988], HarperCollins: Glasgow UK, Second edition, 1995, p.249. Emphasis original)

3/11/2007
"evolution The gradual process by which the present diversity of plant and animal life arose from the 
earliest and most primitive organisms, which is believed to have been continuing for at least the past 3000 
million years. Until the middle of the 18th century it was generally believed that each species was divinely 
created and fixed in its form throughout its existence (see special creation). *Lamarck was the first 
biologist to publish a theory to explain how one species could have evolved into another (see 
Lamarckism), but it was not until the publication of *Darwin's On the Origin of Species in 1859 that 
special creation was seriously challenged. Unlike Lamarck, Darwin proposed a feasible mechanism for 
evolution and backed it up with evidence from the fossil record and studies of comparative anatomy and 
embryology (see Darwinism, natural selection). The modern version of Darwinism, which incorporates 
discoveries in genetics made since Darwin's time, probably remains the most acceptable theory of species 
evolution (see also punctuated equilibrium). More controversial, however, and still to be firmly clarified, 
are the relationships and evolution of groups above the species level. See also macroevolution, 
microevolution." (Martin, E. & Hine, R.S., eds., "Oxford Dictionary of Biology," [1985], Oxford University 
Press: Oxford UK, Fourth edition, 2000, p.219. Emphasis original) 

4/11/2007
"This Abstract, which I now publish, must necessarily be imperfect. I cannot here give references and 
authorities for my several statements; and I must trust to the reader reposing some confidence in my 
accuracy. No doubt errors will have crept in, though I hope I have always been cautious in trusting to good 
authorities alone. I can here give only the general conclusions at which I have arrived, with a few facts in 
illustration, but which, I hope, in most cases will suffice. No one can feel more sensible than I do of the 
necessity of hereafter publishing in detail all the facts, with references, on which my conclusions have been 
grounded; and I hope in a future work to do this. For I am well aware that scarcely a single point is 
discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions 
directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and 
balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question; and this cannot possibly be here done."
(Darwin, C.R., "On the Origin of Species: A Facsimile of the First Edition," Harvard University Press: 
Cambridge MA, 1975, pp.2-3)

7/11/2007
"Neither Wallace nor Darwin was able to define what it was that caused the `minute steps' to occur, and it 
required inputs first from Mendelian genetics and later from molecular biology to assess the claims for this 
evolutionary mechanism. The philosophy of `neoDarwinism' precludes the occurrence of individual steps 
that are not minute, and moreover imposes the further restriction that all such steps must be derived from 
within terrestrial biology. We have argued elsewhere that both these constraints are incorrect (Evolution 
from Space, Dent, 1981)." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Why Neo-Darwinism Does Not Work," 
University College Cardiff Press: Cardiff UK, 1982, p.3)

7/11/2007
"This latter advantage of sexual reproduction seems to be the strongest argument claimed in the books for it 
over the asexual model ... . Fisher's The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection carries the point in the 
exquisite ellipticities that were so characteristic of Fisher. With quite some searching one can find it in 
Sewell Wright's treatise in four volumes Evolution and the Genetics of Populations (University of 
Chicago Press, 1984) and more directly and clearly in J. Maynard Smith's The Evolution of Sex (Cambridge 
University Press, 1978) What one does not find, however, is an appreciation of the really crucial aspect of 
the matter, that only with sexual reproduction accompanied by crossover can positive mutations make 
headway against the deleterious mutations which occur with far greater frequency, and which otherwise 
would swamp the advantageous mutations, not permitting them to make any headway at all." (Hoyle, F., 
"Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.39)

7/11/2007
"Finding the neo-Darwinian theory to work only weakly in the general situation, my impression is that some 
evolutionists have sought to speed things up by wrongly considering cases where species are only coping 
with environmental conditions they have experienced before, so that memory is being misinterpreted as 
discovery. The peppered moth, Biston betularia, so called because it has speckled lack and white wings, 
is frequently misinterpreted in this sense. A dark form of the moth was first noticed near Manchester in the 
mid-nineteenth century thirty years later it had outnumbered the light form of the moth which hack hitherto 
been more common, as much as a hundredfold in the area. The explanation offered for this phenomenon was 
that the dark form of the moths was not as conspicuous to bird predators as the light moth against trees 
which were blackened by the soot from the burning of coal in a heavily polluted area The dark form of moth 
has a working gene which produces the pigment melanin, a gene that has become inoperative in light 
coloured moths." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, 
p.98)

7/11/2007
"I am told by zoologists that the growth of fur is controlled by a single gene, which in humans has gone 
inactive. ... The extreme rarity with which furred children appear in the human population, even with a 
minimal error in the relevant gene, shows by a practical example how impossibly rare it would be for a gene 
with several errors to be again set in a working condition. The situation for three or more errors would be 
rare beyond any possibility of experience, while the situation for a hundred or more errors would be beyond 
consideration even in the most abstract sense. Yet there are of the order of a thousand genes in the simplest 
biological systems, and many more than a thousand in the higher plants and animals, that each demand 
more than a hundred base pairs to be just so in order that they be in a working condition. The problem for 
the neo-Darwinian theory is, not to explain situations like the peppered moth involving only a single error on 
a single gene, but the evolution of thousands of genes each requiring a specific arrangement of hundreds of 
base pairs if they are to function at the level of even the simplest organisms." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of 
Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, pp.101-102)

7/11/2007
"Let me give a few examples. The process of translating base pairs on DNA into a protein involves various 
kinds of RNA molecules which act as intermediaries, with transfer RNA (or t-RNA) molecules, establishing a 
correspondence between triplets of base pairs on the DNA and the appropriate amino acids in the protein. If 
a wrong t-RNA got into the system, giving a wrong amino acid response to a triplet of base pairs, the 
resulting proteins from all genes would be garbled, and for highly sensitive proteins like the enzymes the 
situation would be disastrous. Hence little or no latitude is permitted for the t-RNAs, and so the nucleic acid 
which codes for the t-RNAs can have very little latitude indeed, with hundreds of base pairs involved for 
each t-RNA." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.102)

7/11/2007
"Because of redundancy in the genetic code it is not possible to work backward from the amino acids of a 
protein to the triplets of base pairs which coded for it-on the average there are about three different triplets 
coding for the same amino acid. Even though natural selection may hold a protein to a unique chain of 
amino acids, shifts of base pairs can occur provided they do not go outside the redundancy permitted by 
the genetic code. Such selectively neutral variations in the DNA are found in the case of the protein 
histone-4, which has a chain of 102 amino acids. In humans about thirty distinct genes code for histone-4, 
apparently because there is need for a large amount of this particular protein to be produced. The genes 
have variations in their base pairs, but the variations are all of the kind permitted by the redundancy of the 
genetic code. They all code for the same amino acid chain. Other variations that did not code for the same 
amino acid chain must surely have occurred but were stamped out by natural selection. Essentially, the same 
amino acid chain being found also in other animals and even in plants, we have a case in histone-4 where 
more than 200 base pairs are conserved across the whole of biology. The problem for the neo-Darwinian 
theory is to explain how the one particular arrangement of base pairs came to be discovered in the first place. 
Evidently not by random processes, for with a chance 1/4 of choosing each of the correct base pairs at 
random, the probability of discovering a segment of 200 specific base pairs is 4-200, which is equal to 
10-120. Even if one were given a random choice for every atom in every galaxy in the whole visible universe the 
probability of discovering histone-4 would still only be a minuscule ~10-40." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of 
Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, pp.102-103)

7/11/2007
"The histones are a small class of protein which play a critical role in the process of cell division. Except at 
times of cell division the chromosomes exist freely and separately in the cytoplasm of a cell. With the 
approach of cell division, the chromosomes are first duplicated and then condensed into a compact, much 
more visible structure known as chromatin, which can be stained by suitable dyes to make it accessible to 
microscopic examination. The histones appear to provide physical support for the chromosomes in this 
process of condensation and in the complex maneuvers, which then lead to crossover and cell division. A 
form of histone-4 with rogue properties that led to wrong crossover or to chromosomes being torn during 
cell division would clearly be lethal, just as wrong t-RNA molecules would be lethal. So can one plausibly 
explain the observed uniqueness of histone-4. Without histone-4 being exactly right, cells could not divide 
properly and nothing in the whole biological system would work correctly. Faced with this situation, neo-
Darwinians retreat into an untestable position. Histone-4 evolved step by step they characteristically argue, 
with each step requiring no more than a single base pair change. To the objection that step-by step 
evolution was not possible because histone-4 is an all-or-nothing case, they reply by admitting that, while in 
the present situation this may be true, the situation as it once was differed in this respect. In a more primitive 
situation, histone-4 evolved step by step it is claimed, thereby retreating neatly into the unknowable and 
untestable, a device which, however, is not logically tenable because primitive systems without sexuality 
and crossover cannot evolve." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis 
TN, 1999, p.103)

7/11/2007
"The issue properly within the range of science is whether the basic genetic features of terrestrial species-
enzymes, t-RNA molecules, the histones, the genetic code itself-are indigenous to the Earth at all. Biologists 
have sometimes said that they see no advantage in transferring the problem of the origin and evolution of 
life onto a cosmic stage because the deeper problems would still have to be solved. I find this point of view 
strange. When in science several paths are open to investigation it makes sense to try the apparently 
simplest one first. But if what at first appeared the simplest path turns out to lead into a morass, it then 
makes sense to investigate other paths. The aim of science should be to discover the correct path, not to 
adhere to an incorrect route because at first glance it seemed simplest." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of 
Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.103)

7/11/2007
"Microorganisms and genetic fragments are extremely space-hardy. They can withstand very low pressures 
and wide fluctuations of temperature, and they are remarkably resistant to radiation damage, especially if 
protected by a little shielding material against ultraviolet light. The Earth's atmosphere would permit space-
incident biomaterial to make a soft terrestrial landing without damage occurring due to excessive heating, 
provided the biomaterial were in the form of small particles with diameters less than -100 Ám. The physical 
conditions therefore permit both microorganisms and the eggs and sperms of lower animals to be incident 
from space, as well as viruses and viroids, which can add further genes to species already established here 
on the Earth." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.104)

7/11/2007
"The nature films shown on television, despite their technical excellence, are likely to yield the wrong 
impression that all terrestrial life is subtly adapted to its environment. In some cases it is, in others it isn't. By 
concentrating on well-adapted cases, a false impression is created, the same false impression that has been 
created by Darwinians from 1860 onward, the recipe being always to concentrate on the successes and 
never to mention the failures. Microorganisms in particular are often quite seriously disadapted from their 
environment, as for instance wide divergences from optimum temperatures. Indeed, it would be more correct 
to say that microorganisms exist wherever they can gain a toehold, regardless of adaptation." (Hoyle, F., 
"Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.104)

7/11/2007
"It is a mistake to suppose that science is an unswerving pursuit of objective truth. Partially it is, but only to 
the extent that the truth does not turn out to contradict what has already been taught in the educational 
process. Students in organic chemistry still learn that in 1828 Friedrich Woehler destroyed the old doctrine 
of vitalism by preparing urea from ammonium cyanate. But the latter almost surely had its origin in the action 
of denitrifying bacteria in the soil, so that the claimed production of a biological product from nonbiological 
sources was very likely wrong, and could have been seen to be wrong from Pasteur onward. Mistakes of 
scientific history are still more ineradicable. Few students are ever informed that the concept of evolution 
through natural selection was under discussion fully a quarter of a century before Darwin's book On the 
Origin of Species. Ironically, the theory was then rejected for what was considered a failure of species to 
adapt to the environment." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 
1999, pp.104-105)

7/11/2007
"Writing in the mid-1830s, Edward Blyth was well aware of the precision of adaptation at the level of 
varieties of species, but not above the level of species he maintained. The argument he gave was a powerful 
one, and in the later enthusiasm for the Darwinian theory it was never answered properly. Most species are 
limited to a geographical area, with good adaptation to the conditions well inside the area but with less and 
less good adaptation toward its boundaries. Why, Blyth asked, if species can evolve to the great extent that 
would be needed to explain the differences between genera, families, orders, and classes can they not 
evolve to the lesser extent that would maintain adaptation to and beyond the boundaries of their respective 
areas? Instead of doing so, however, species stay obstinately fixed, disappearing as the limits of their 
habitats are reached. According to Blyth, this fact, which was the rule not the exception, proved that the 
capacity of species to adapt must be limited, making what today we call the Darwinian theory (but which 
Blyth considered in 1837) untenable." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: 
Memphis TN, 1999, p.105)

7/11/2007
"This argument of Blyth's was strong enough to hold back the theory of evolution by natural selection for 
more than two decades, causing Darwin not to risk open confrontation. Darwin retreated into a protracted 
study of barnacles instead, and it was Alfred Russel Wallace who eventually took up the challenge on 
behalf of evolutionists, who included Robert Chambers as well as Darwin. Chambers was the first person so 
far as I am aware to propose that land based animals had evolved from fish. Wallace was in the position of 
having to earn a living in a subject which in those days offered few opportunities to any but persons with 
private means. He hit on the idea of combining his interest in biology with the need to earn a living by 
collecting specimens, which were then sold to museums and private individuals. In the course of his 
wanderings in the Amazon Valley and later in the Dutch East Indies over a period from 1847 to 1862, Wallace 
is said to have discovered 30,000 new species, which meant that his knowledge of field zoology became 
immense. So many of the intricate adaptations of the kind we see today became apparent to him that 
evolution could be their only explanation. Wallace then extended the evidence for evolution that he could 
see in present-day species to the recent fossil record. In the paper published in 1855 he was able to show to 
the satisfaction of even such a sceptic as the geologist Charles Lyell that present-day species had been 
preceded by similar species in similar geographical area, Wallace's law as it eventually became known." 
(Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, pp.105-106)

7/11/2007
"Noting the profound effect Wallace's arguments were having on Lyell, Darwin turned back from barnacles 
to evolution, but still not out in the open. Still missing from Darwin's concepts was what later became called 
the principle of divergence. Eventually, however, in June 1858, Wallace sent a manuscript to Darwin that 
explained the principle of divergence so clearly that Darwin was at last able to begin his preparations for 
On the Origin of Species, which repeated in 490 pages what Wallace's manuscript had said in 10 pages." 
(Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.106)

7/11/2007
"But the objections to the theory of evolution by natural selection had not really been answered, and by 
1870 Wallace had come to realize that something in addition was needed. Thus to Wallace, as or Lyell and to 
Blyth long ago, there was something right about evolution by natural selection and there was something 
wrong. This balanced position, which was the correct one, never had a fair hearing from 1870 onward 
however, because the developing system of popular education provided an ideal opportunity for zealots 
who were sure of themselves to overcome those who were not, for awkward arguments not to be discussed, 
and for discrepant facts to be suppressed. This was because popular education created a body of students 
who, like Wallace himself, had of necessity to make their ways in life, and because it is only students from 
privileged backgrounds who can afford to adopt views contrary to what they are told." (Hoyle, F., 
"Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.106)

7/11/2007
"There was nothing wrong in Wallace's use of the recent fossil record but attempts to use the more distant 
fossil record in order to investigate wider evolutionary connections has not been similarly successful. From 
1860 onward the more distant fossil record became a big issue, and over the next two decades discoveries 
were made that at first seemed to give support to the theory particularly the claimed discovery of a well-
ordered sequence of fossil horse' dating back about 45 million years. Successes like this continue to be 
emphasized both to students and the public, but usually without the greater failures being mentioned. 
Horses according to the theory should be connected to other orders of mammals, which common mammalian 
stock should be connected to reptiles, and so on backward through the record. Horses should thus be 
connected to monkeys and apes, to whales and dolphins, rabbits, bears. ... But such connections have not 
been found. Each mammalian order can be traced backward for about 60 million years and then, with only 
one exception the orders vanish without connections to anything at all. The exception is an order of small 
insect-eating mammal that has been traced backward more than 65 million years, through the mysterious 
event which extinguished about half the genera of all animals including the large dinosaurs, including 
indeed every animal weighing more than 50 pounds of whatever species, and even including microscopic 
animals living on the sea bed." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis 
TN, 1999, pp.106-107)

7/11/2007
"The story is the same for other classes of animal, the case of insects being particularly well documented. 
Orders of insects can be traced back over 200 million years for mayflies and dragonflies and about 300 
million years for cockroaches, grasshoppers, and locusts. The striking feature of these long records is that 
they contain little evidence of change; and they too fade away to nothing instead of connecting to other 
orders of insects. The theoretical presumption of evolution for a common ancestor is not there in the insect 
record, just as it is not there for mammals, or for any other class of animal or division of plant. Still less is 
there evidence of evolution connecting different classes and divisions, subkingdoms or kingdoms. In 1860 it 
could be claimed with some plausibility that the record was seriously incomplete, and it could therefore be 
hoped that with increasing knowledge the more distant connections postulated by the theory would 
eventually be found. They have not been, and since geology has expanded enormously in scope over the 
past century, it now seems unlikely that the postulated connections will ever be found." (Hoyle, F., 
"Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.107)

7/11/2007
"One still hears talk of the incompleteness of the record, but fossils of many insects continue smoothly 
throughout the period some 60 million years ago when the mammalian record fades away. To the excuse 
sometimes offered that insects fossilize better than mammals, the reply is that, if insects fossilize so well, 
why is it that the insect record also fades away before connections between the insect orders are found? 
Why is that crustacea, shrimps for example, continue smoothly through the period some 350 million years 
ago when the insect record fades away?" (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: 
Memphis TN, 1999, pp.107-108)

7/11/2007
"The external incidence model, combined with what has been learned from the mathematical results of earlier 
chapters, copes with all these difficulties. As we have noted, external incidence can be expected to give only 
coarse fits between species and the environment. Fine-scale adaptation, which so impressed Wallace and 
his contemporaries, comes from the ability of species to optimize adaptation with respect to single base-pair 
changes. Wherever a gene can improve performance by a single base-pair change, mutations will find the 
change and selection will operate to promote it. What mutations cannot do is to find improvements which 
demand the simultaneous change of several base pairs. Once the range of improvements conferrable by 
single base-pair changes have become exhausted, a species cannot evolve further. It becomes limited in its 
environmental range, exactly as Blyth pointed out so many years ago. Boundaries to its habitat are 
inevitably reached because the range of genetic adaptation has become exhausted. Although improvements 
may lie only a few base pairs away, they cannot be found. Only if the genetic system is again stirred up by 
external incidence can anything further take place." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn 
Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.108)

7/11/2007
"External incidence appears to come in storms of rather short duration, the most recent very large storm 
being the one that occurred 65 million years ago, to which reference has already been made. Species seem to 
vary considerably in their sensitivities to genetic storms. Relatively insensitive species, those which largely 
exclude viruses, remain locked into a particular mode of existence. Such species are common among 
invertebrates, with insects, spiders, scorpions, and shrimps showing little or no evolution even over 
hundreds of millions of years. These are the so called living fossils extending backward in time with 
essentially no change, in the case of some shrimps for as long as 500 million years. Other species, however, 
are highly sensitive to genetic invasion from outside. Such species face either extinction or immense change 
and fragmentation at a major genetic storm. Fragmentation comes from the imposition of a coarsely defined 
range of genetic possibilities, which after fragmentation are refined by the single base-pair adjustments 
discussed above. In effect, there is a genetic explosion, at first with the possibilities only broadly adapted to 
the environment, with the fine-scale adjustments subsequently taking place. It was the fine-scale changes 
that so greatly impressed Wallace and his contemporaries, and which do indeed fit the tenets of the neo-
Darwinian theory. What the mathematics shows is that nineteenth-century biologists were correct so long 
as they remained within the range of practical experience. Where the situation went wrong was in making a 
huge extrapolation from the safe ground of practical experience, and still more wrong in persisting with the 
erroneous extrapolation in more recent times, long after ample evidence was available to show that an 
incorrect guess had been made." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: 
Memphis TN, 1999, pp.108-109)

7/11/2007
"The reason why no connections are seen in the geological record between the orders of mammals is that 
the different orders are fragments from a genetic explosion, probably an explosion resulting from the 
immense storm of 65 million years ago. The explosion happened so quickly, producing creatures dissimilar to 
what had been there before, that the geological record failed to capture the explosion itself, only its 
products. In the mammalian case, the products are creatures of broadly similar type which emerged as 
fragments from the explosion, and which now constitute the different orders of mammals." (Hoyle, F., 
"Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.109)

7/11/2007
"Likely enough a similar picture applies to an explosive fragmentation of an order into families of creatures, 
with such less violent convulsions arising from genetic storms of lesser magnitude, and with species 
repeatedly settling into fine-scale adaptations following every storm, whether the storm be large or small. A 
similar explosive concept was arrived at in the first half of the present century by the botanist J. C. Willis, 
but without a model to support it. Willis set out his case in a book The Course of Evolution (Cambridge 
University Press, 1940), which although rather repetitive contains an impressive array of facts. From botany 
rather than zoology, Willis arrives at the concept that in recent years has been call evolution by `punctuated 
equilibrium,' a concept for which he gives references back to 1837, the same year which saw the pioneering 
work of Blyth. Naturalists in 1837 were very close to the truth, closer a cynic might say than they are today." 
(Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.109)

7/11/2007
"There is an interesting order of plants that I should mention, however briefly, before closing this chapter. 
The Scrophulariales have all the aspects of an explosion into genera. Their diversity is enormous. The order 
includes the tomato, potato, eggplant, chili pepper, tobacco, snapdragon, African violet, gloxinia and 
penstemon, bladderworts and magnificent ornamental trees such as the jacaranda and the white Indian cork 
tree. It is striking that the Scrophulars also date from the immense genetic storm of 65 million years ago. 
(Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, pp.109-110)

7/11/2007
"The Genetic Cost of EvolutionSelection cannot protect a species against deleterious mutations or 
promote the spread favourable mutations without a cost in genetic deaths occurring. In the bisexual model 
we have studied ... the necessary genetic deaths are born by an initially excessive population of juveniles, 
which besides standing up to accidental disasters imposed by the environment must also bear the cost of 
selection." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.111. 
Emphasis original)

7/11/2007
"We took the juvenile population to be M, leading in each generation to a population N of adults who 
survive to reproductive age. For plants, invertebrate animals, fish, amphibians, most reptiles, and smaller 
mammals, M is so large compared to N that no great fraction of the available juveniles is required to die in 
order to maintain the integrity of a species with respect to deleterious mutations, or to permit sufficient 
advantageous mutations to penetrate a species to yield an effectively rapid rate of positive evolution. For 
the larger mammals and for many species of birds, however, M is not so large compared with N that the 
issue of genetic cost can be taken for granted. Typically in the latter cases, M might be about 5N, 
corresponding to each mating pair producing an average of 10 offspring. It would not be unreasonable to 
suppose that 40 percent of juveniles fail to reach maturity for accidental nongenetic reasons, leaving 3N in 
these cases as the margin of juveniles on which selection can operate during a final reduction to an eventual 
population of N surviving adults. We have seen repeatedly that exp -λ, is a load factor imposed on every 
individual in order to prevent a continuing penetration of a species by deleterious mutations. With the 
deleterious mutations taken mostly to be recessive, that is, h = 0, λ is the average number of such mutations 
incurred in the replication of a single set of chromosomes, λ ≅ 0.3 being a reasonable numerical estimate. If 
for simplicity of argument we also take the bulk of the recessive deleterious mutations to be lethal in 
homozygous individuals, exp -λ, is the fraction of juveniles that must die to maintain the integrity of the 
species, about one in three ... . Thus the need to maintain the integrity of the species reduces the margin of 
3N juveniles to 2N, leaving N who can be squeezed out in the promotion of positive evolution. Hence, we 
conclude for birds and larger mammals: `That the number of juveniles who can be sacrificed to improve by 
selection the adaptation of a species to its environment is of the order of the surviving adult population. 
Neither birds nor larger mammals can evolve at a faster rate than is implied by this constraint, which 
evidently sets a maximum rate at which evolution can take place.'" (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," 
[1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.112)

7/11/2007
"The human species is a critical example for testing this deduction, partly because the numbers taken above 
for M/N and for exp -λ are closely applicable to the human case, and partly because human evolution over 
the past million years appears to have been very rapid. Has the measure of human evolution been consistent 
with the availability of dispensable juveniles one can ask? A similar question has relevance in other 
interesting situations, as, for instance, following one of the major genetic storms discussed in the preceding 
chapter. In the wake of such a storm, opportunities arise for rapid evolution along divergent lines: How rapid 
could such genetic explosions and fragmentations be? And on a lesser scale, a sudden change in the 
environment can throw a species out of a well-adapted condition: How quickly can positive evolution then 
recover adaptation? We considered the latter question previously for the peppered moth, but only for the 
change of a single gene. When many genes are involved how does the situation develop?" (Hoyle, F., 
"Mathematics of Evolution," [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 13:04 PM 30/12/2007999, pp.112-113)

15/11/2007
"The accepted modern theory, essentially that worked out by Darwin a century and a half ago, rests on a 
few obvious and plausible propositions. Animals and plants have more offspring than can survive and 
reproduce in the long run. The young are not exact copies of their parents, and differences are frequently 
inheritable. If an inheritable variation gives some individuals a competitive advantage, they will leave more 
descendants. Differential reproduction with inheritable variation and the sieve of selective survival account 
for the development, or evolution, of all living things. This idea is summed up as natural selection, although 
there is no selection in the sense of choice. More descriptive is `survival of the fittest,' a phrase Darwin took 
from Herbert Spencer. This sounds tautological because the definition of fitness is the ability to survive 
(and reproduce). However, since the race is to the fastest (or fittest), the winners enter the next race and 
produce the next set of contestants. Just why the winners win we may not know, but they are enabled by 
their varying qualities to procreate others like themselves. This provides the framework for a complete 
theory of how life evolves. The theory of natural selection is neat and appealing. Undeniably, offspring 
often differ from their parents, differences can be inherited, and inherited traits can enable some to leave 
more descendants than others. The logic seems so solid that, in the view of Dawkins, `even if there were no 
actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory, we would still be justified in preferring it over all other 
theories" (Dawkins 1986, 287). Most biologists are not quite so sure, but they accept the conventional 
theory as their frame of reference." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: 
Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.1-2) 

15/11/2007
"Darwin-who was better situated, presented more evidence, and was more consistent in his scientific 
attitude-became the symbol of evolution personified. Acceptance or denial-of the theory of evolution came 
to be and has remained nearly equivalent to loyalty or opposition to Darwin. Nonetheless, his theory of 
change by natural selection was based more on plausibility and analogy than solid evidence. It was fairly 
clear that variations like those observed in domestic animals brought about some changes in nature; Darwin 
extrapolated to assert that all differences between living creatures were thus caused, ultimately back to the 
separation of humans, fish, protozoa, and plants. In order to exclude anything savoring of divine 
intervention, Darwin also assumed that change had to be gradual and random." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond 
Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.6-7) 

15/11/2007
"Some biologists have gone far in exalting the gene over the organism and demoting the animal itself to 
being merely the means of replicating genes (Dawkins 1976). The essence of evolution is said to lie in the 
competition of genes and their (unconscious) struggle to survive and multiply. In a typical expression, `The 
individual bodies...throwaway "survival machines"...are designed by genes simply as a means of enhancing 
gene survival and perpetuation' (Barnard 1983, 119). In other words, `The individual organism is only their 
[the genes'] vehicle, part of an elaborate device to preserve and spread them with the least possible 
biochemical perturbation' (E. Wilson 1980, 3). The stark affirmation of the `selfish gene' appeals for its 
counterintuitive boldness. But to say that the genes are in some indefinable way primary is more of an 
ideological than a scientific statement. Genes are not independent entities but dependent parts of an entirety 
that gives them effect. All parts of the cell interact, and the combinations of genes are at least as important 
as their individual effects in the making of the organism. Selection operates not on genes but on organisms 
or perhaps groups (and possibly species). .... To make the simplest and smallest part the reason for all the 
rest no doubt appeals as a token of sophistication, a claim to profundity by paradox. But it is odd to claim 
that the function of the elephant, a complex, seemingly purposeful, and responsive creature, or of a human is 
to copy sequences of nucleic acid bases, which can do nothing outside the body and are of no significance 
except as they contribute to the making of a new elephant or a new person. An organism interacts with the 
world and has a destiny; a gene only assists in making an organism." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural 
Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.11-12) 

16/11/2007
"Evolutionary theory may be modified to meet such difficulties, and evolutionists differ widely in their views 
regarding the pace, focus, and mechanics of change. They firmly maintain, however, the central ideas: there 
is nothing purposive, and organisms adapt genetically only by success or failure in leaving descendants. In 
the words of Ernst Mayr, `The one thing about which modern authors are unanimous is that adaptation is 
not teleological' (Mayr 1983, 324)." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: 
Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.16)

16/11/2007
"Darwin answered the intellectual need of the day, and the age recognized itself in him (Barzun 1941, 80, 85). 
He has been elevated as perhaps the greatest of scientists, and his name stands for a theory that has grown 
far beyond his work. What is commonly called the neo-Darwinian synthesis, or simply the modern 
synthesis, has taken on somewhat ideological overtones, especially in the United States. It becomes a little 
like a revelation by a prophet, whose every word in his major works is recorded in concordances. Darwinism 
is to be guarded against irreverent attack ... " (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: 
Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.16)

16/11/2007
"The Darwinist model is a good working hypothesis and paradigm for research. Karl Popper, in fact, 
regarded it as more of a "metaphysical research program" than a scientific theory (Schlipp 1974, 134). In a 
common view, the accepted evolutionary doctrine, rough hewn as it may be, has to be regarded as true 
unless it is proved false, even though the evidence for it is admittedly incomplete. Mark Ridley, for example, 
again and again makes the case for natural selection simply on the grounds that we have no other plausible 
explanation (Ridley 1985). This perspective is understandable, perhaps persuasive. Theories in which many 
scientists have invested their careers are not set aside until they can be replaced by more satisfactory 
theories, usually brought forward by younger thinkers. " (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], 
MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.16-17)

16/11/2007
"Despite the infrequency of any useful mutation, it can always be postulated that the appropriate mutations 
came along by accident and were selected, bringing about the adaptation in question. For example, it is 
hypothesized that natural selection has led the female sedge warbler to prefer full-throated males because 
they should make good foragers for the family. On the other hand, the female lyrebird supposedly has been 
selected to prefer the male who neglects his offspring and so avoids bringing the nest to the attention of 
predators (Alcock 1988, 80-81). The female spotted hyena, in the opinion of some, has a set of external 
genitals like those of the male in order the better to greet her friends (Kruuk 1972, 229). Some weaverbirds are 
monogamous because food is scarce, others because food is abundant (Crook 1972, 304). Marmot families 
say together longer at high altitudes because there is less vegetation (Barash 1982, 59); if the young ones 
dispersed sooner at high altitudes, it would probably be because where food is scarce they have to seek 
new pastures. Instead of defecating on demand, like other tree dwellers, a sloth saves its feces for a week or 
more, not easy for an eater of coarse vegetable material. Then it descends to the ground it otherwise never 
touches, relieves itself, and buries the mass (Forsyth and Miyata 1984, 27-28). The evolutionary advantage 
of going to this trouble, involving no little danger, is supposedly to fertilize the home tree. That is, a series 
of random mutations led an ancestral sloth to engage in unslothlike behavior for toilet purposes and that 
this so improved the quality of foliage of its favorite tree as to cause it to have more numerous descendants 
than sloths that simply let their dung fall, and thus the trait prevailed." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural 
Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.17-18)

16/11/2007
"There is, however, an even sharper attack: the orthodoxy of special creation. Biologists, more than any 
other scientists, are subject to an organized assault that varies in intensity but never ceases, insulting and 
even injurious to their professional worth. No lay groups try to check or abolish the teaching of chemistry in 
the schools, but biologists see their science cramped and put on a level with ideas lacking in empirical 
foundation. They naturally assume an indignant defensive posture. Biblical fundamentalism in the United 
States may be the chief reason that Darwinist fundamentalism is especially strong in this country. This is an 
old fight. Darwin made himself the champion of natural science when its intellectual prestige was rising 
sharply and the intellectual community of Britain, then the most advanced country in the world, was seeking 
to liberate itself from theological traditions. In an area of the utmost philosophical, ethical, and religious 
significance, Darwinism became the banner of those who would overthrow what they saw as an irrational, 
superstitious view of human origins. Darwin was much more destructive of old faiths and ideas of divine 
guidance than was Newton two centuries earlier or Copernicus before him. The theory of evolution became 
the focus of the confrontation of science and religion. The debate was emotional, and decades elapsed 
before the fires of controversy burned low and most churches came to terms with evolution by a qualified 
surrender. The temperature is raised from time to time, however, especially as the advocates of Creation 
science press political authorities to impose their views on the public schools, or at least to check teaching 
of the naturalistic approach to the problem of human origins.." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," 
[1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.20)

16/11/2007
"The antievolutionists are much more concerned with denying the reality of evolution than with the way in 
which it is theorized to have occurred, to which they do not usually pay much attention. But they welcome 
any uncertainties about it. And if they retreat from the dogma that all species were individually created in 
their present forms, they would at least like to see the evolutionary process as purposeful, perhaps divinely 
guided. Their position would, of course, be much stronger if they accepted the reality of common ancestries 
and concentrated their fire on the vulnerable issue of how natural selection can account for many seeming 
miracles of nature, including thinking beings. Evolutionists, in counterpoint, often seem to take the very 
strong evidence for the reality of common ancestry as proof of the complete correctness of the mechanism 
they postulate." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 
1994, pp.20-21)

16/11/2007
"The theory of evolution by natural selection of randomly occurring variations is presupposed to be true 
because it is logical and simple. For this very reason, however, it should be regarded with suspicion; this 
inscrutable universe does not lend itself to facile explanations. A mechanistic approach to evolution 
oversimplifies thinking on an immense subject of the greatest intrinsic complexity." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond 
Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.22)

16/11/2007
"The hope of many biologists theoretically to base their discipline on physics, the model science, is 
delusive for two reasons. One is that the complexity of organisms makes it impossible to learn much biology 
from facts of physics; biologists leave physics far behind when they consider adaptation, behavior, and 
evolutionary change. Living beings operate on a very different level from atoms, and evolution is not a 
mechanical but a historical process. More fundamental, understanding evolution in strictly material terms is 
vitiated by the fact that physics itself is riddled with conceptual difficulties and contradictions. The material 
particles that should theoretically form a solid foundation for biology turn out to be not solid building 
blocks of reality but enigmatic, if not incomprehensible, entities. And in all but the simplest and most 
constrained interactions of bodies and forces, new relations enter." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural 
Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.22)

16/11/2007
"The famous second law of thermodynamics is not derivable from knowledge of particles; it rather 
contradicts their nature: elementary particle reactions are time reversible, but the essence of the second law 
is irreversibility. It is based on the simple proposition that energy flows from warmer to cooler regions, and 
from this fact develops a nonintuitive concept, entropy, which is roughly equivalent to disorder. Entropy is 
not easily measured or exactly defined, but scientists have found the concept useful, have generalized it, 
and have built theories on or around it, down to the ultimate (happily very distant) "warm death" of the 
universe. Thermodynamic entropy is related to information theory and thereby to evolution; some theorists 
see organisms primarily as systems of dissipation of energy into entropy." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural 
Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.27)

16/11/2007
"As early as the seventeenth century, the hope of mechanistic understanding of nature took strong root 
with the systematics of Rene Descartes and the triumphs of Newton's mechanics. In the glory days of 
classical physics a century and more ago, scientists and philosophers exulted in the discoveries of 
gravitation and mechanics, giving rational explanations for a host of puzzling phenomena, from the ocean's 
tides to the orbits of the planets. Many thought all the basic questions had been answered: the universe 
had been found to be a machine. In his classic boast, Laplace proclaimed that it was only necessary to know 
all the positions and motions of everything in the universe in order to predict the whole of the future. This 
was an intoxicating perspective. We can see in retrospect that it was ridiculous, as Laplace might have 
realized if he had pondered how he could be sure that his great thoughts were simply equivalent to 
predictable motions of material particles. But the mechanistic philosophy was believable because thinkers 
were awed by the flood of discoveries changing the intellectual landscape. Those who investigated nature 
badly wanted to believe that the key had been found to unlock the treasure chest of her secrets." (Wesson, 
R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.28-29)

16/11/2007
"But at the very time that Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrodinger, and their brilliant 
colleagues were revising the Newtonian view of the physical universe, biology was becoming more 
reductionist with the application of Mendelism to Darwinism. A little later, molecular biology came to 
reinforce the materialistic approach. Biology remains laggard. Despite awareness of the inadequacy of 
reductionism, it generally insists on a reductionist approach to its primordial problem, evolution, accounting 
for everything by random variation (mutation) and selection, with unessential qualifications and allowance 
for various unpredictable influences. Many or most of its practitioners would treat organisms in the fashion 
of classical physics, like objects subject to forces of the environment. During the past decade or so, there 
has been something of a ferment as more questions are being asked and the certitudes of mid-century are 
questioned, but evolutionary theory `persists in adhering to the Cartesian and Newtonian mechanical 
paradigm' (Ho 1988, 87)." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 
Reprinted, 1994, p.29)

16/11/2007
"Biologists can maintain an essentially Newtonian, statistical-mechanist outlook because the many 
anomalies and unanswered questions in biology do not present such clearly defined challenges to accepted 
doctrine as those that brought the downfall of classical physics. The invariance of the velocity of light or 
the spectral lines of hydrogen were facts that could not be ignored. Evolutionary theory, on the other hand, 
is elastic and can be stretched to cover many things. It is always possible to assume that there must have 
been appropriate mutations. So much is unknown or unknowable that it can be supposed that facts would fit 
the theory if they could only be learned. Evolution is history, history is subject to interpretation, and not 
much can be proved or disproved about it." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: 
Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.35)

16/11/2007
"Yet traditional evolutionary thinking does not escape corrosion from the modern intellectual climate. A 
scientific theory is not an autonomous entity. Scientific theories are shaped by the attitudes and 
presuppositions that scientists bring to their handling of facts, which are selected according to the 
presuppositions prevalent in the scientific community and the society at large." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond 
Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.35)

16/11/2007
"The Darwinian theory of evolution was the heart of a revolutionary change of outlook in life sciences in the 
mid-nineteenth century comparable to the rationalistic Newtonian-Cartesian revolution in exact sciences two 
centuries earlier. It made intelligible the process of change in the living world by the law of natural selection, 
much as Newton had made the movements of the planets and much else intelligible by his laws of motion 
and gravitation. Change proceeded by fixed and mechanistic processes in a closed universe. Evolution by 
the natural selection of `fitter' individuals was analogous in its concreteness and simplicity to classical 
mechanics-and to the economic system of liberal England, in which the competition of production units 
brought progress to the whole." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge 
MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.35)

16/11/2007
"This [Neo-Darwinist] synthesis seemed satisfactory. It well suited the image of most biologists of their 
science and their intellectual role. Now it seems outmoded. ... The core of the neo-Darwinist synthesis will 
remain valid. No one doubts that there are small, random mutations, that mutations affect the ability of 
organisms to survive and propagate, and that gene frequencies in a population vary. But the meaning and 
centrality of these Darwinian propositions will surely be reassessed. The new mode of scientific thinking 
calls for a broadened agenda for evolutionary thinking, asking different questions and expecting different 
kinds of answers, and it is certain to be more sophisticated in its reasoning." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond 
Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.37)

16/11/2007
"The remains of extinct creatures are probably the most convincing proof of the reality of evolutionary 
descent of living creatures, but they cast doubt on the theory that random variation and natural selection 
suffice to account for it. The study of fossils was already fairly advanced in Darwin's day; since then, it has 
produced a huge mass of information about the life of the past. There are many obviously ancestral or near-
ancestral forms, yet many pages of the history of life are conspicuously missing-generally the most 
interesting pages." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 
Reprinted, 1994, p.38)

16/11/2007
"Darwin insisted on gradualism as the essence of naturalism and the repudiation of divine intervention. His 
theory implied, and he quite reasonably believed, that there should be most evolution in large populations, 
which would produce a large number of variations, and hence that there should be much evidence of 
evolutionary change. Consequently he was much concerned with the incompleteness of the fossil record, to 
which he devoted 28 pages of On the Origin of Species (C. Darwin 1964, 279-311). He attributed it to the 
accidental absence or erasure of parts of the record and the inadequacy of exploration, and he was confident 
that in time the gaps would be filled. This was not implausible in his day. But since then the hundredfold 
multiplication of the number of known fossils has not much improved the continuity of the record. The most 
impressive intermediate-the reptile-bird Archaeopteryx, the most famous of all fossils-was aptly 
discovered in 1861 when debate over the new theory was most heated, encouraging the hope that more 
digging would uncover many more such discoveries. But no equally admirable bridging form has been 
found.." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, 
p.38)

16/11/2007
"The problem cannot lie merely in the scantiness of fossilization. True, it is a rare event for an animal, 
especially a land animal, to leave its skeleton to be dug up millions of years later. It is always possible to say 
that a transitional form must have existed but has not yet been found. Nevertheless, an enormous amount of 
information is available. ... Remains of some 250,000 extinct species have been recovered and classified, and 
they ought to provide a reasonably good picture of the life of the past (so far as fossilizable). ... But the 
fossil record does not tell us what theory promises. We expect to find a great tree, with many forks sending 
branches in different directions. ... The tree of life as it appears in the rocks is strangely different from this 
ideal. The beginnings of new limbs are seldom even close to the part of the tree from which they supposedly 
sprang, and a number of branches usually appear close together without any connection. Charts depicting 
ancestries through the ages are sometimes fudged by drawing connections where they are assumed; the 
more honest ones have dotted lines. By corollary, there is little indication of actual change. Stability or 
stasis is normal. Gradual change appears mostly in dimensions, as increases of size or enlargements of parts 
(Eldredge 1985, 23, 75). ... It is as though life goes behind the bushes and emerges in new clothes." 
(Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.39-40)

16/11/2007
"A few gaps would be expected in a haphazard record but not the absence of documented transitions. Not 
only are relationships between the great groups, the phyla, obscure; lesser divisions are also 
undocumented. Logic suggests that there should be many intermediate forms between widely differing 
groups, such as the bat and the four-footed insectivore-like animal from which it must have arisen. One is 
more likely to find transitional forms where change has been less drastic, as between modern carnivores and 
those of 50 million years ago. The width of gaps tends to lessen, in a taxonomic sense, as one approaches 
the present because structural change has slowed as organisms become more complex and ecological 
spaces are filled. But Ernst Mayr goes so far as to assert that there is `no clear evidence for any change of a 
species into a different genus or for the gradual emergence of any evolutionary novelty' (Mayr 1988, 529-
530)." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.40)

16/11/2007
"In the more distant past, multicellular animals of modern phyla appeared abruptly about 570 million years 
ago in the spectacular Burgess shale formations. About 50 phyla (compared with half that number in today's 
world) and a large number of classes appeared-about 300 new major body plans developing in a few million 
years. Many of these were quite odd looking to our eyes, and they were extremely varied. There is no 
indication of ancestry; no invertebrate class is connected by intermediates with any other. There is very 
little continuity between the more complex Burgess Shale animals, with hard parts, and the preceding 
Vendian-Ediacaran soft-bodied animals (Morris 1990, 33; Valentine 1985, 263-267)." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond 
Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.41,44)

16/11/2007
"The record of plants is even more discontinuous than that of animals. When fossils of land plants 
appeared, without recorded ancestry, about 450 million years ago, major lines had already been formed, with 
no evident linkage among them. Many types arose in about 30 million years in the Silurian period (Thomas 
and Spicer 1987, 21). Some plant families, such as horsetails, club moss, selaginella, ginkgoes, and cycads, 
have been almost unmodified for tens or hundreds of millions of years. Flowering plants (angiosperms) 
appeared about 120 million years ago; for many millions of years, their rise was slow (Stebbins 1974, 318). 
However, "as soon as angiosperms became well represented in the fossil floras of the Cretaceous, they are 
largely referable to modern families and even genera" (Bell and Woodcock 1983, 318). Abundant fossils give 
little evidence of gradual change (Thomas and Spicer 1987, 61-67)." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural 
Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.45)

16/11/2007
"The gaps in the record are real, however. The absence of a record of any important branching is quite 
phenomenal. Species are usually static, or nearly so, for long periods, species seldom and genera never 
show evolution into new species or genera but replacement of one by another, and change is more or less 
abrupt (John and Miklos 1988, 307). This contradicts the Darwinian approach. Natural selection-and 
Lamarckian evolution by use and disuse-would imply gradual, progressive change, with randomly diverging 
lines of descent. This would make a great irregular bush, not the branching ideal tree of life, much less the 
record that we have, with big and little branches suspended without junctions. Those who study the fossil 
record, dealing not with equations of population genetics but with hard facts of the past, have been most 
inclined to be skeptical of Darwin's insistence on slow, more or less steady change. Such paleontologists as 
Stephen J. Gould, Niles Eldredge, and Steven M. Stanley have recently been in the vanguard of the critics." 
(Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.45)

16/11/2007
"Along with the blanks in the record, evolutionists face the problem of how important changes could have 
come about; the origin of no innovation of large evolutionary significance is known (Langridge 1987, 248). 
Perhaps the most discussed transition is that from reptiles to birds. The appearance of mammals is passably 
understandable. One can fairly easily imagine reptiles' becoming mammals by degrees: standing more erect, 
improving the heart, stabilizing body temperature and acquiring hair to keep warm, producing a nutrient 
secretion fromrmal glands to nourish their offspring, and so forth. But the leap ine leap into the air is a 
theoretical crux. Six skeletons of a primitive pigeon-sized near-bird, Archaeopteryx, about 150 million 
years old, have been discovered in a German limestone deposit (Wellnhofer 1990, 70-77). It is classified as a 
bird primarily because outlines of feathers were preserved in some specimens. Its skeleton is reptilian: long 
tail, no sternum to attach flight muscles, fingers not fused to make the wing, and claws on the wing. The 
dinosaurian ancestry is obvious, and evolutionists point to it triumphantly as an excellent example of an 
intermediary between classes. It must have been close to the ancestral line of the birds because a modern 
Venezuelan bird, the hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin), by a remarkable surfacing of repressed genes, has 
almost identical wing claws as a fledgling. But the reptile-bird does not tell how a land animal became a 
flying animal." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 
1994, pp.45-46)

16/11/2007
"Specialists find good reasons to reject both of the theories of the origin of birds: that they developed flight 
as a supplement to running (because half-wings would slow the animal down) (Ostrom 1986) and that they 
started as gliders (because they have legs like ground-living animals) (Bock 1986). Many animals have 
acquired some kind of sail to extend their ability to jump, from frogs with expanded feet to gliding lizards to 
flying squirrels. Several modern lizards glide, mostly by flattening the body. One (Draco) can sail as far as 
60 feet, thanks to a membrane supported by extensions of ribs (Bellairs 1970, 85). But Draco could not 
possibly advance to flight. Flying requires a surface to beat the air at some distance from the body (Paul 
1988, 214). The gliding lizards of dinosaurian days were not ancestral to birds." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond 
Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.46)

16/11/2007
"The first requirement for flight is a greatly enlarged surface area of the forelegs; it is useless to flap limbs 
without good airfoils. This problem was solved with feathers. The harder question of birds' origins is how 
feathers came about Strangely, evolution gave Archaeopteryx feathers almost indistinguishable from 
those of a modern bird, such as a pigeon, even having series of primaries and secondaries, while leaving the 
skeleton so little modified that some specialists have doubted that it could fly. Feathers are complexly 
structured organs, with delicate interlocking details, barbules, and hooklets. One would suppose them to be 
very difficult to evolve, more difficult than wings (wings have arisen five times, feathers only once). It is 
speculated that feathers served originally for temperature control and were readapted for flight-a guess 
without evidence that is frequently asserted as though it were a fact (as by McFarland et al. 1985, 415)." 
(Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.46)

16/11/2007
"Although they appear fully developed in an animal poorly designed for flight, feathers seem designed for 
this purpose. For warmth, something much simpler, like hair, would serve well, and some flightless birds, 
such as the kiwi, have hairlike feathers (Grant 1985, 323). The down of baby birds is better insulation than 
the plumes that make flight possible, but down would be rather an impediment to flight. No nonbird has 
anything like feathers, although many animals-not only mammals but arthropods like moths and spiders-
have something like hair. If groundliving reptiles had found feathers useful for thermoregulation, it would 
seem likely that some would have kept the trait, or at least left some fossil trace of it, as found in 
Archaeopteryx and subsequent bird remains (Welty 1982, 594). A covering for warmth, moreover, would 
presumably be least developed on the limbs, but for flight, feathers are needed only on the forelimbs." 
(Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.47-48)

16/11/2007
"The rise of birds is the more remarkable because the air was already occupied by numerous and apparently 
efficient flying lizards, pterosaurs, which became extinct only at the end of the age of dinosaurs, nearly 100 
million years after Archaeopteryx. The question of pterosaur origin is as unaccountable as that of birds. 
The earliest known pterosaurs were even more specialized for flight than Archaeopteryx. The wing was 
mostly an enormously extended finger; the sternum was developed for the attachment of flight muscles; and 
the main bones were thin-walled tubes, making the creature lighter for its size than birds. Like bats, 
pterosaurs had a membrane-wing. One species, Quetzalcoatlus, was by far the largest flier ever known, 
with a wingspread of 11 or 12 meters, three times that of a condor (Radinsky 1987, 132). The pterosaurs 
competed with the birds for some 70 million years, only to succumb in the extinction that removed the 
dinosaurs." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, 
p.48)

16/11/2007
"Soon after the great extinction, the bats made a spectacular leap into the air, where many kinds of birds 
were well established. The appearance of bats, the first mammals to reach modern shape, was as abrupt as 
that of pterosaurs. Their skeleton is very unlike that of a running animal, and the earliest known bat was 
almost indistinguishable from modern bats. It even seems to have had an advanced apparatus for 
echolocation (Novacek 1988, 70). Extraordinarily, it appears that bats evolved twice." (Wesson, R.G., 
"Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.48-49)

16/11/2007
"To attain flight, bats and pterosaurs modified the forelimb much more drastically than birds did. To achieve 
what the birds did with feathers, the bats and pterosaurs stretched fingers out to double the length of the 
rest of the body, a modification that would seem useless in its initial stages and difficult for gliders. Bats, 
however, are less aerially adapted than birds; they are capable of only slow, jerky flight, and they lack the 
birds' efficient cooling and respiratory system with air sacs and hollow bones. Yet they are generally much 
clumsier on the ground than birds. The problem of the evolution of bats' flight is like that of birds. Modern 
gliding mammals, such as the flying squirrel or the flying lemur (colugo), have no tendency to prolong their 
leap by flapping the membranes stretched between fore and hind limbs, and it would seem difficult to do so. 
That bats somehow did so is suggested by the fact that their wings are attached to their hind legs, which, 
unlike those of birds, are poorly adapted for running A difficulty is that if a glider like a flying squirrel began 
flapping its membrane to control its glide, the obvious course was to lengthen the forelimbs, not the toes. 
But the earliest known bats are finger flyers, almost indistinguishable from modern bats." (Wesson, R.G., 
"Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.49)

16/11/2007
"Insects are the only other animal to have achieved flight, which they did in the Carboniferous period, about 
100 million years before flying lizards. Insects also have the distinction of sprouting wings, so far as 
appears, de novo. Insect wings are extensions of the integument of the thorax, and their genesis required the 
concurrent development of a light but stiffened membrane, a joint to the body, and suitable muscles and 
innervation, along with the controls necessary for flying. There is speculation that insect wings originated 
as an outgrowth of larval gills or as thermoregulatory devices. It is postulated that the sails of some 
dinosaurs served this function, but no insects are known to have such an organ, and they hardly need it 
because they can easily regulate temperature by moving into or out of the sunshine. It is believed, in any 
event, that their flight arose from gliding (Kukalova-Peck 1987, 2342). It should be easier for a small animal to 
develop flight because of the relationship between surface and weight. But no other invertebrate class has 
done so." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, 
p.49)

16/11/2007
"The Wonder of Life In the miracle of life, material substance takes on complex, self-organizing order. Life 
is not merely the product of the past but a program to make a future, a novelty in the universe, structure 
shaped for needs. The fundamental problem of life was how a biochemical system could multiply itself, in 
the long term improving its capacity to do so. Life uses energy (almost entirely from sunlight) to defeat the 
near-universal principle of increase of entropy, which means degradation or loss of faculties. In the short 
term, this requires growth; in the long term, it entails reproduction to surmount the decadent individual. 
When molecules link together to make a crystal, their order serves as a template to which other atoms can 
adhere and enlarge the structure. But the distance from the most elaborate crystal to the simplest living 
organism is enormous. Organisms are self-regulating, or homeostatic, maintaining internal conditions 
despite fluctuations of the external medium. All animate beings selectively exchange substances with their 
environment, permitting certain materials to pass in and others to go out. Almost at their inception, living 
things had to become able to process materials absorbed or ingested, using them to carry out vital 
processes, to grow and reproduce. Such an exchange is the essence of animation. A minimum of about 300 
biochemical processes are necessary; in the simplest known self-sustaining organisms, there are about 550 
(Morowitz 1985, 248)." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 
Reprinted, 1994, p.49)

16/11/2007
"Certain aspects of the conjectured beginning of life are fairly comprehensible. Amino acids ... are easily 
formed from the probable components of the prebiotic atmosphere ... Yet the hurdles in the way of life's 
making itself were formidable. ... It is believed that RNA must have been very close to the origin of life 
because it is chemically more active than DNA and can uniquely act as both self-reproducer and catalyst. 
But RNA is difficult to make and could not have come into existence by a chance combination; unless there 
is a guidance mechanism, it does not reproduce itself accurately (Waldrop 1990, 1544). There had to be a set 
of protein structures to permit nucleic acid to replicate, yet nucleic acid was necessary to make needed 
proteins. A membrane was needed to contain interacting proteins and nucleic acid, but proteins and nucleic 
acid were necessary to make the membrane. Moreover, it had to be semipermeable from the outset to admit 
useful materials and permit waste to diffuse out." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT 
Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.55-56)

16/11/2007
"A minor problem is that although amino acids made nonbiologically are randomly optically left or right 
rotating, biological amino acids are always left rotating. All the amino acids in an enzyme must have the 
same orientation for it to be functional. The same is true of the sugars that form part of the nucleic acid 
chain. It seems that for life to begin, there had to be long chains with many units of the same rotational 
(isomeric) class, but the only known way to produce such a chain is by biological process (Hegstrom and 
Kondespudi 1990, 109)." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 
Reprinted, 1994, p.56)

16/11/2007
"In the simplest bacterium, reproduction is complex. The strands of nucleic acid must be replicated 
accurately; then strands and corresponding structures must be pulled apart in such a way as to make two 
complete sets, and a new wall has to be built to divide the new cells. This process requires hundreds of 
enzymes and proteins. It is subject to a high rate of errors, resulting partly from the never absolute stability 
of the-intracellular environment, and errors have to be corrected in order to maintain the viability of the 
organism. Only a very short DNA sequence could replicate itself with sufficient reliability. But a fairly long 
sequence-the simplest modern genome, has about 3 million bases-is necessary to produce appropriate 
enzymes to check errors. If a cell had a hundred bases so in its DNA, there would-be too many errors to 
maintain structures--certainly more than 1 percent going wrong-yet the bases would be far too few to code 
for the enzymes needed to correct mistakes of transcription (Maynard Smith 1986, 118). To surmount such 
barriers, life had to devise, through some process of self-organization, an interlocking structure of many 
essential components, none of which would seem possible without the others." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond 
Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.56)

16/11/2007
"Life must have begun on a single track (or else only one track left descendants) because all creatures in 
their infinite diversity have the same basic chemistry, with similar metabolic processes. Most remarkable, the 
genetic code, which as far as known is arbitrary (there is no apparent reason that any particular set of bases 
codes for any particular amino acid except that is the way it started), is universal (with- trivial exceptions). 
The code is believed to be as old as life itself (Eigen et al. 1989, 673). Once fixed, it could not be changed. It 
is also possible that the basic chemical reactions shared by all life are the only, or at least the best, attainable 
way to carry out many of its processes." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991], MIT Press: 
Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.57)

16/11/2007
"Despite its seeming near impossibility, life seems to have arisen relatively rapidly-within a few hundred 
million years of the formation of the planet. The earliest remnants believed to be fossil bacteria are about 3.5 
billion years old. It may be assumed that these ancient bacteria were simpler than their modern descendants, 
but they must have solved the big problems, having developed most of the enzymes and proteins that 
enable organisms to function. Photosynthesis, a rather complicated process, developed at about this same 
time. For over 2 billion years-well over half the entire history of life-bacteria had the world to themselves. 
Apparently life rapidly came to or near a sort of plateau and continued for a long age with little apparent 
change, a pattern repeated countless times in evolution." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," 
[1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.57)

16/11/2007
"The more complicated nucleated (eucaryotic) cell appeared about 1.2 billion years ago. It was so long in 
coming that it must have been extremely unlikely, requiring several times longer than the genesis of life 
itself, and its advent marks the greatest known discontinuity in the sequence of living things (Glaessner 
1984, 15). Between such very different organisms as bacteria and protists (protozoa and algae) there is no 
intermediary. The crucial advance was a membrane separating the directive nucleus from the supporting 
cytoplasm. Nucleic acid was divided into chromosomes instead of simply forming a ring, as in bacteria, and 
the amount of nucleic acid was multiplied manyfold, much of it seemingly being placed in reserve. There 
were also developed organelles (principally mitochondria and chloroplasts), which cooperate in the 
housekeeping but reproduce independently of the remainder of the cell." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural 
Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.57)

19/11/2007
"evolution The process by which genetic changes have taken place in populations of animals and plants 
over successive generations in response to environmental changes (=>natural selection). Evolution has 
resulted in the formation of new species and, usually, an increase in complexity. Evidence for evolution 
comes from palaeontology, biogeography, a genetics, and comparative anatomy and physiology. Cf. => 
creationism. =>Darwinism, punctuated equilibrium." (Bailey, J., ed., "The Penguin Dictionary of Plant 
Sciences," [1984], Penguin Books: London, New edition, 1999, pp.167-168. Emphasis original)

19/11/2007
"creationism (special creation) A view that opposes evolutionary theory and envisages the vast variety 
of living organisms, both existing and fossilized, as having been specially designed by a Creator. The 
attempted construction of phylogenetic pathways based on the idea that living forms have evolved from 
ancestral forms is interpreted by creationists as evidence of a `Great Design'. Creationism is difficult to 
disprove by experiment. Some creationists believe in the theory of catastrophism, in which it is thought that 
there have been a number of creations at different times, each having been destroyed by some kind of 
natural catastrophe, such as a flood." (Bailey, J., ed., "The Penguin Dictionary of Plant Sciences," [1984], 
Penguin Books: London, New edition, 1999, p.117)

19/11/2007
"Life on earth developed over billions of years by utter chance, filtered through natural selection. So says 
Darwinism, the most influential idea of our time. If a rare random mutation in a creature's DNA in the distant 
past helped the lucky mutant to leave more offspring than others of its species, then as generations passed 
the species as a whole would have changed. Incessant repetition of this simple process over eons built the 
wonders of biology from the ground up, from the intricate molecular machinery of cells up to and including 
the human mind. That's the claim, at least. But is it true? To answer that question, Darwin's theory has to be 
sifted carefully, because it isn't just a single concept-it actually is a mixture of several unrelated, entirely 
separate ideas. The three most important ideas to keep straight from the start are random mutation, natural 
selection, and common descent." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of 
Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.1)

19/11/2007
"Common descent is what most people think of when they hear the word `evolution.' It is the contention 
that different kinds of modern creatures can trace their lineage back to a common ancestor. For example, 
gerbils and giraffes-two mammals-are both thought to be the descendants of a single type of creature from 
the far past. And so are organisms from much more widely separated categories-buffalo and buzzards, pigs 
and petunias, yaks and yeast. That's certainly startling, so it's understandable that some people find the idea 
of common descent so astonishing that they look no further. Yet in a very strong sense the explanation of 
common descent is also trivial. Common descent tries to account only for the similarities between 
creatures. It says merely that certain shared features were there from the beginning-the ancestor had them. 
But all by itself, it doesn't try to explain how either the features or the ancestor got there in the first place, or 
why descendants differ. For example, rabbits and bears both have hair, so the idea of common descent says 
only that their ancestor had hair, too. Plants and animals both have complex cells with nuclei, so they must 
have inherited that feature from a common ancestor. But the questions of how or why are left hanging." 
(Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 
2007, pp.1-2. Emphasis original)

19/11/2007
"In contrast, Darwin's hypothesized mechanism of evolution-the compound concept of random mutation 
paired with natural selection-is decidedly more ambitious. The pairing of random mutation and natural 
selection tries to account for the differences between creatures. It tries to answer the pivotal question, 
What could cause such staggering transformations? How could one kind of ancestral animal develop over 
time into creatures as different as, say, bats and whales?" (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search 
for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.2)

19/11/2007
"Let's tease apart that compound concept. First, consider natural selection. Like common descent, natural 
selection is an interesting but actually quite modest notion. By itself, the idea of natural selection says just 
that the more fit organisms of a species will produce more surviving offspring than the less fit. So, if the total 
numbers of a species stayed the same, over time the progeny of the more fit would replace the progeny of 
the less fit. It's hardly surprising that creatures that are somehow more fit (stronger, faster, hardier) would on 
average do better in nature than ones that were less fit (weaker, slower, more fragile)." (Behe, M.J.*, "The 
Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.2)

19/11/2007
"By far the most critical aspect of Darwin's multifaceted theory is the role of random mutation. Almost all of 
what is novel and important in Darwinian thought is concentrated in this third concept. In Darwinian 
thinking, the only way a plant or animal becomes fitter than its relatives is by sustaining a serendipitous 
mutation. If the mutation makes the organism stronger, faster, or in some way hardier, then natural selection 
can take over from there and help make sure its offspring grow numerous. Yet until the random mutation 
appears, natural selection can only twiddle its thumbs." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for 
the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, pp.2-3)

19/11/2007
"Random mutation, natural selection, common descent-three separate ideas welded into one theory. 
Because of the welding of concepts, the question, Is Darwinism true? has several possible answers. One 
possibility, of course, is that those separate ideas-common descent, natural selection, and random mutation-
could all be completely correct, and sufficient to explain evolution. Or, they could all be correct in the sense 
that random mutation and natural selection happen, but they might be inconsequential, unable to account 
for most of evolution. It's also possible that one could be wholly right while the others were totally wrong. 
Or one idea could be right to a greater degree while another is correct to a much lesser degree. Because they 
are separate ideas, evidence for each facet of Darwin's theory has to be evaluated independently. Previous 
generations of scientists readily discriminated among them. Many leading biologists of the late nineteenth 
and early twentieth centuries thought common descent was right, but that random mutation/natural 
selection was wrong." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free 
Press: New York NY, 2007, p.3)

19/11/2007
"In the past hundred years science has advanced enormously; what do the results of modern science show? 
In brief, the evidence for common descent seems compelling. The results of modern DNA sequencing 
experiments, undreamed of by nineteenth-century scientists like Charles Darwin, show that some distantly 
related organisms share apparently arbitrary features of their genes that seem to have no explanation other 
than that they were inherited from a distant common ancestor. Second, there's also great evidence that 
random mutation paired with natural selection can modify life in important ways. Third, however, there is 
strong evidence that random mutation is extremely limited. Now that we know the sequences of many 
genomes, now that we know how mutations occur, and how often, we can explore the possibilities and limits 
of random mutation with some degree of precision-for the first time since Darwin proposed his theory." 
(Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 
2007, p.3)

19/11/2007
"As we'll see throughout this book, genetic accidents can cause a degree of evolutionary change, but only a 
degree. As earlier generations of scientists agreed, except at life's periphery, the evidence for a pivotal role 
for random mutations is terrible. For a bevy of reasons having little to do with science, this crucial aspect of 
Darwin's theory-the power of natural selection coupled to random mutation-has been grossly oversold to 
the modern public." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free 
Press: New York NY, 2007, p.4)

19/11/2007
"In recent years Darwin's intellectual descendants have been aggressively pushing their idea on the public 
as a sort of biological theory-of-everything. Applying Darwinian principles to medicine, they claim, tells us 
why we get sick. Darwinian psychology explains why some men rape and some women kill their newborns. 
The penchant for viewing the world through Darwinian glasses has spilled over into the humanities, law, 
and politics. Because of the rhetorical fog that surrounds discussions of evolution, it's hard for the public to 
decide what is solid and what is illusory. Yet if Darwinism's grand claims are just bluster, then society is 
being badly misled about subjects-ranging from the cause of illnesses to the culpability of criminals-that can 
have serious real-world consequences." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of 
Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.4)

19/11/2007
"As a theory-of-everything, Darwinism is usually presented as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. Either accept 
the whole theory or decide that evolution is all hype and throw out the baby with the bath water. Both are 
mistakes. In dealing with an often-menacing nature, we can't afford the luxury of elevating anybody's 
dogmas over data. The purpose of this book is to cut through the fog, to offer a sober appraisal of what 
Darwinian processes can and cannot do, to find what I call the edge of evolution." (Behe, M.J.*, "The 
Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.4. Emphasis 
original)

19/11/2007
"On the surface, Darwin's theory of evolution is seductively simple and, unlike many theories in physics or 
chemistry, can be summarized succinctly with no math: In every species, there are variations. For example, 
one animal might be bigger than its brothers and sisters, another might be faster, another might be brighter 
in color. Unfortunately, not all animals that are born will survive to reproduce, because there's not enough 
food to go around, and there are also predators of many species. So an organism whose chance variation 
gives it an advantage in the struggle to survive will tend to live, prosper, and leave offspring. If Mom or 
Dad's useful variation is inherited by the kids, then they, too, will have a better chance of leaving more 
offspring. Over time, the descendants of the creature with that original, lucky mutation will dominate the 
population, so the species as a whole will have changed from what it was. If the scenario is repeated over 
and over again, then the species might eventually change into something altogether different." (Behe, M.J.*, 
"The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, pp.4-5)

19/11/2007
"At first blush, that seems pretty straightforward. Variation, selection, inheritance (in other words, random 
mutation, natural selection, and common descent) seem to be all it takes. In fact, when an evolutionary story 
is couched as abstractly as in the previous paragraph, Darwinian evolution appears almost logically 
necessary. As Darwinian commentators have often claimed, it just has to be true. If there is variation in a 
group of organisms, and if the variation favorably affects the odds of survival, and if the trait is inherited, 
then the next generation is almost certain to have more members with the favorable trait. And the next 
generation after that will have even more, and the next more, until all members of the species have it. 
Wherever those conditions are fulfilled, wherever there is variation, selection, and inheritance, then there 
absolutely must be evolution." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of 
Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.5)

19/11/2007
"So far, so good. But the abstract, naive logic ignores a huge piece of the puzzle. In the real world, random 
mutation, natural selection, and common descent might all be completely true, and yet Darwinian processes 
still may not be an adequate explanation of life. In order to forge the many complex structures of life, a 
Darwinian process would have to take numerous coherent steps, a series of beneficial mutations that 
successively build on each other, leading to a complex outcome. In order to do so in the real world, rather 
than just in our imaginations, there must be a biological route to the structure that stands a reasonable 
chance of success in nature. In other words, variation, selection, and inheritance will only work if there is 
also a smooth evolutionary pathway leading from biological point A to biological point B." (Behe, M.J.*, 
"The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.5. 
Emphasis original)

19/11/2007
"The question of the pathway is as critical in evolution as it is in everyday life. In everyday life, if you had 
to walk blindfolded from point A to point B, it would matter very much where A and B were, and what lay 
between. Suppose you had to walk blindfolded (and, to make the example closer to the spirit of Darwinism, 
blind drunk) from A to B to get some reward-say, a pot of gold. What's more, suppose in your sightless 
dizziness the only thought you could hold in your head was to climb higher whenever you got the chance 
(this mimics natural selection constantly driving a species to higher levels of fitness). On the one hand, if 
you just had to go from the bottom of a single enclosed stairwell to the top to reach the pot of gold, there 
might be little problem. On the other hand, if you had to walk blindfolded from one side of an unfamiliar city 
to the top of a skyscraper on the other side-across busy streets, bypassing hazards, through doorways-you 
would have enormous trouble. You'd likely stagger incoherently, climb to the top of porch steps, mount car 
roofs, and so on, getting stuck on any one of thousands of local high points, unable to step farther up, 
unwilling to back down. And if, just trying to climb higher whenever possible, you had to walk blindfolded 
and disoriented from the plains by Lubbock, Texas, to the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago-blundering 
randomly over flatlands, through woods, around canyons, across rivers-neither you nor any of billions of 
other blindfolded, disoriented people who might try such a thing could reasonably be expected to succeed." 
(Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 
2007, pp.5-6)

19/11/2007
"In everyday life, the greater the distance between points A and B, and the more rugged the intervening 
landscape, the bleaker are the odds for success of a blindfolded walk, even-or perhaps especially-when 
following a simple-minded rule like "always climb higher; never back down." The same with evolution. In 
Darwin's day scientists were ignorant of many of the details of life, so they could reasonably hope that 
evolutionary pathways would turn out to be short and smooth. But now we know better. The great progress 
of modern science has shown that life is enormously elegant and intricate, especially at its molecular 
foundation. That means that Darwinian pathways to many complex features of life are quite long and 
rugged. The problem for Darwin, then, as with a long, blindfolded stroll outdoors, is that in a rugged 
evolutionary landscape, random mutation and natural selection might just keep a species staggering down 
genetic dead-end alleys, getting stuck on the top of small anatomical hills, or wandering aimlessly over 
physiological plains, never even coming close to winning the biological pot of gold at a distant biological 
summit. If that is the case, then random mutation/natural selection would essentially be ineffective. In fact, 
the striving to climb any local evolutionary hill would actively prevent all drunkards from finding the peak of 
a distant biological mountain. This point is crucial: If there is not a smooth, gradually rising, easily found 
evolutionary pathway leading to a biological system within a reasonable time, Darwinian processes won't 
work." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York 
NY, 2007, pp.6-7. Emphasis original)

19/11/2007
"As a practical matter, how far apart do biological points A and B have to be, and how rugged the pathway 
between them, before random mutation and natural selection start to become ineffective? How can we tell 
when that point is reached? Where in biology is a reasonable place to draw the line marking the edge of 
evolution? This book answers those questions. It builds on an inquiry I began more than a decade ago with 
Darwin's Black Box. Then I argued that irreducibly complex structures-such as some stupendously 
intricate cellular machines-could not have evolved by random mutation and natural selection. To continue 
the above analogy, it was an argument that the blindfolded drunkard could not get from point A to point B, 
because he couldn't take just one small step at a time-he'd have to leap over canyons and rivers. The book 
concluded that there were at least some structures at the foundation of life that were beyond random 
mutation." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New 
York NY, 2007, p.7)

25/11/2007
"To reiterate: an unenlightened Bible translation has made victims of us all. The word `earth,' synonymous 
with `globe' or `planet,' is a permissible translation of the Hebrew word 'erets, from Genesis 1:1 to 2:4, even 
though this last verse is transitional, and shifts focus to the immediate area where Adam was created, where 
the flood took place, and where the tower of Babel was built. From Genesis 2:5 to 12, words such as `land,' 
`region' or `territory' fit the context better than the word `earth,' with the possible exception of Genesis 8:22 
and 9:13. Cain was not driven off `the face of the earth' (Gen. 4:14), just out of the vicinity of Eden. Clouds 
never cover the globe completely (Gen. 9:14), only a segment of land. The planet was not divided in Peleg's 
days (Gen. 10:25), simply the immediate region. Undoubtedly, the Old Testament writers had no concept of 
the earth as a round globe with a circumference of 25,000 miles. What we can visualize as the earth today is 
entirely different from what they could have pictured as a definition of the word. Could the Hebrews or 
Egyptians or any other Near Eastern cultures have envisioned the world then as we know it exists today, 
with polar ice caps and oceans covering three-fourths of the surface, massive land continents, and 
numerous oceanic islands burgeoning with unique faunal populations? The notion of a global flood, based 
solely on the Genesis narrative, fails on two counts: (1) the word translated `earth' in Genesis can mean 
`land,' and (2) any word which might have defined `earth' would not mean then what it means today." 
(Fischer, D.*, "The Origins Solution: An Answer in the Creation-Evolution Debate," Fairway Press: Lima OH, 
1996, p.260) 

25/11/2007
"The author of Genesis has made choices. He had to select what information to include. He had to decide 
how to communicate that information effectively to his audience and how to provide it with the emphasis 
that would serve his purposes. He had to guide his literary art with discretion so that it would contribute 
productively to his purpose. Our belief in inspiration suggests that God's hand was behind all of these 
choices. We are not content to consider the book of Genesis as simply the work of a human author. Yet it is 
the assumption of this commentary that God's purpose is carried out through the human author's purpose. 
As a result, that author should be considered the link to the authoritative Word of God. We understand 
God's inspired message when we understand the human author's message. God's communication is to Israel 
through the author of Genesis, but we believe that the book constitutes a part of God's revelation of himself, 
so its vitality remains undiminished for us today. Though that message transcends culture, the form it was 
given in is, to some extent, culture-bound. The task before us as interpreters is to try to dissipate the 
culturally induced fog so that we can establish a strong authority link to God's revelation through the 
communication of that revelation by his chosen spokesman. The anticipated result is that we will be able to 
interpret the details of the text in relation to the author's purpose rather than tailoring our interpretation to 
whatever modern debates have captured our attention. ... None of us is immune to the syndrome of hearing 
what we want to hear. We are all inclined to superimpose our culture and our expectations on a text. In the 
case of a biblical text, the problem becomes acute because we also tend to superimpose our theology on a 
text and even excuse that imposition by attributing the meaning we want to derive from it to the divine 
author if we do not find it on the human level. ... We will assume a level of integrity to the communication 
that transpired between the author and his audience-that is, that he was intentionally communicating 
something meaningful and that he had every reason to expect his audience would understand what he 
meant. We will assume that although there may be more truth than the author knew, the truth he did know 
and communicate was authoritative and inspired. It is therefore the human author's communication that will 
be our target as we seek out God's Word. At times we will be able to identify other layers of meaning that 
transcend the human author, but it is the initial context that serves as the foundation for any other layers. 
This foundational layer is the most ignored, the most difficult to penetrate, and the most important, so it will 
be our primary focus." (Walton, J.H.*, "Genesis," The NIV Application Commentary, Zondervan: Grand 
Rapids MI, 2001, pp.19-20)

27/11/2007
"The Cafeteria-Line Approach is the method by which the writer or critic simply picks out of the gospel 
material what suits his tastes. Again, Cassels commented: `The amazing thing about all these debunk-Jesus 
books is that they accept as much of the recorded gospels as they find convenient, then ignore or repudiate 
other parts of the same document which contradict their notions.' [Cassels, Louis. "Debunkers of Jesus Still 
Trying." Detroit News, 23 June 1973, p.7A] This approach is especially noticeable in those who hold a 
naturalistic view toward the gospel accounts. Liberal theology of the nineteenth century; for example, 
tended to accept everything in the gospel narratives except the supernatural elements and any statements 
supporting the deity of Christ. ... Those who study form and redaction criticism will also observe the 
cafeteria-line approach in operation. The choices made as to what is `authentic' and what is `unauthentic' in 
the gospel accounts often are quite arbitrary, based on a preconceived bias, and supported by previous 
arbitrary conclusions. ... Sometimes popular writers and journalists pick up `scholarly conclusions,' which 
are primarily opinions supported by cafeteria-line evidence, and they report as fact those conclusions which 
suit their own tastes add preconceived conclusions. " (McDowell, J.* & Wilson, B.*, "He Walked Among Us: 
Evidence for the Historical Jesus," Here's Life Publishers: San Bernardino CA, Second Printing, 1988, p.322. 
Emphasis original)

28/11/2007
"evolution The gradual development of new varieties of organisms from pre-existing organisms over 
millions of years. The modern theory of evolution has developed from the ideas of Charles Darwin published 
in his book 'The Origin of Species' in 1859. According to the modern theory (called neo-Darwinism), changes 
occur in organisms by mutations of genes. This leads to the existence of variation amongst individuals. 
Some of these individuals may survive more successfully than others (called natural selection), thus 
producing more offspring with their new features. Gradually these new features will extend throughout the 
*population. If, however, the population is isolated from others differences cannot spread, and over a period 
of time two varieties come to exist. Only small changes to organisms have been actually observed to occur 
by this mechanism. e.g. Industrial melanism, resistance to antibiotics and insecticides. Evidence for larger 
changes must be deduced from the fossil record." (Heffernan, D.A., "The Australian Biology Dictionary," 
[1987], Addison Wesley Longman: Melbourne Vic, Australia, Reprinted, 1996, p.87. Emphasis original) 

28/11/2007
"evolution The gradual process of change that occurs in populations of organisms over a long period of 
time. It manifests itself as new characteristics in a species, and the formation of new species. See Darwinism, 
Lamarckism, natural selection. Compare special creation." (Tootill, E., ed., "The Pan Dictionary of 
Biology," [1981], Pan Books: London, Reprinted, 1990, p.108. Emphasis original)

28/11/2007
"First and most obvious, its nakedness. Our closest relatives, the great apes, are covered with hair. Of all the 
species of mammals, only a handful (among them manatees, whales, dolphins, elephants, hippos, rhinos and 
pigs) are hairless. The interesting thing about the animals in that list is that several of them are aquatic, and 
some that aren't today might have had aquatic ancestors. The hairs you have retained do not just stick out 
in random directions, nor do they run parallel down the body; instead they are arranged diagonally, pointing 
in towards the midline of the body, a pattern that would encourage the easy flow of water over your body if 
you were swimming." (Ingram, J., "Homo Aquaticus," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales 
from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.102)

28/11/2007
"The sweat glands scattered all over your body cool you when you're overheated, although they are by no 
means perfectly suited to that task: excessive sweating removes too much salt and water from the body, so 
much so that you need to consume expensive athletic beverages to restore the salt balance. In the days 
before such beverages, wouldn't it have been advantageous for our ancestors to live somewhere where both 
salt and water were in abundance? If this point-by-point inspection of your body leads you to weep 
emotional tears, that too is a unique human trait, something that would also have been useful (for removing 
excess salt) had we once lived in a high-salt environment.." (Ingram, J., "Homo Aquaticus," in "The 
Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, 
p.103)

28/11/2007
"You can only infer its existence from a glance in the mirror, but there is a virtually continuous layer of fat 
under your skin, a layer of fat that is seen most obviously in aquatic mammals, like manatees, whales and 
walruses. That fat may even alter your body shape, making it more streamlined in the water." (Ingram, J., 
"Homo Aquaticus," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," [2001], Aurum 
Press: London, 2001, p.103)

28/11/2007
"Your nose sticks out prominently from the rest of your face, nostrils down, ideal for preventing water from 
getting in it when diving. Imagine you are about to dive-the first thing you would do is hold your breath. 
That ability-to decide to hold your breath-is something no other terrestrial animal is capable of doing. Why 
would we alone have that skill, so useful when swimming? The very fact that you are standing on two legs 
means you would be able to breathe in chest-deep water." (Ingram, J., "Homo Aquaticus," in "The 
Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, 
p.103)

28/11/2007
"In 1960, a British scientist, Sir Alister Hardy, was impressed enough by this suite of anatomical and 
physiological features to propose a radical alternative evolutionary history for human beings. He argued 
that these apparent traces of a watery past made the standard evolutionary picture of an ape-like creature 
(our ancestor) that moved from the African forests onto the savannah and stood up in the process highly 
unlikely. Instead, Hardy proposed that the ape-like ancestor moved out of the forest all right, but wasted no 
time moving into the ocean, lived there long enough to develop several adaptations for marine life, then 
returned to land some millions of years later." (Ingram, J., "Homo Aquaticus," in "The Barmaid's Brain: 
And Other Strange Tales from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, pp.103-104)

28/11/2007
"Hardy first presented his ideas to a meeting of the British Sub-Aqua Club in Brighton in early March 1960. 
He titled his talk, "Aquatic Man: Past, Present and Future," but the emphasis was clearly on the past. He 
argued that our primitive hominid ancestors had been forced by competition to exploit a new ecological 
niche: feeding on seashores and in shallow waters. In an article in The New Scientist a couple of weeks 
later (written to clarify what Hardy thought had been misrepresentations of his speech), he wrote: `I imagine 
him wading, at first perhaps still crouching, almost on all fours, groping about in the water, digging for 
shellfish, but becoming gradually more adept at swimming. Then, in time, I see him becoming more and more 
of an aquatic animal ... ' [Hardy, A.C., "Was Man More Aquatic in the Past?" New Scientist, Vol. 7, 17th 
March 1960, pp.642-645]" (Ingram, J., "Homo Aquaticus," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange 
Tales from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.104)

28/11/2007
"Hardy died in 1985, but his ideas have been kept alive-and extended-by others, notably the British science 
writer Elaine Morgan in her books The Aquatic Ape, The, Scars of Evolution and most recently The 
Aquatic Ape Hypothesis. The aquatic ape theory is not a "respectable" scientific theory; it doesn't appear 
in anthropology texts, is rarely referred to in scholarly journals and most experts in the field-
paleoanthropologists-spend zero time thinking about it. ... Even those few scientists who have published 
their thoughts on the theory in scholarly publications like the Journal of Human Evolution dismiss the 
aquatic ape theory as being just this side of crackpot. There is one exception: Daniel Dennett, the tough-
minded philosopher famous (or notorious) among academics for his books Consciousness Explained and 
Darwin's Dangerous Idea, had this to say in the latter about the aquatic ape theory: `When I have found 
myself in the company of distinguished biologists, evolutionary theorists, paleoanthropologists ... I have 
often asked them just to tell me, please, exactly why Elaine Morgan must be wrong ... I haven't yet had a 
reply worth mentioning, aside from those who admit, with a twinkle in their eyes, that they have often 
wondered the same thing.' [Dennett, D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea," 1995, p.244] The few experts I've 
forwarded this question to either politely refuse to comment or, in one case, complained that the question 
had been poorly phrased. So phrase it differently; Dennett's question is still worth asking. There are still big 
gaps in the scientific account of human evolution, and such gaps invite speculation and unofficial 
scenarios. The question that always must be asked is, do the alternative scenarios actually help fill the 
gaps?" (Ingram, J., "Homo Aquaticus," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," 
[2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, pp.104-105)

28/11/2007
"Scientists spend a lot of time pointing out the similarities between us and our closest relatives, the 
chimpanzees. There are two species of chimp, the common chimp that Jane Goodall has studied for decades 
and the lesser known bonobo, or pygmy chimp. Both are genetically very similar to humans (the common 
chimp closer), so much so that some scientists think of humans as just another chimp (see Jared Diamond's 
The Third Chimpanzee). But let's face it: there is world of difference between a human and a chimp. The 
most obvious is mental, notwithstanding the linguistic achievements of chimpanzees like Kanzi, the chimp 
trained by Sue Savage-Rumbaugh who apparently understands complicated English sentences (there are 
even structures in the chimp brain that hint at some sort of organization for language) or the reasoning 
exhibited by chimps who are smart enough to pile up boxes to reach bananas suspended from the ceiling. 
They're smart, but they're not Homo sapiens smart. And the difference between us and the chimps is more 
than just mental: physically and developmentally we're completely different animals. And yet there's that 
genetic similarity-the genes of the two species are more than 98 per cent identical." (Ingram, J., "Homo 
Aquaticus," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science, London : Aurum, 2001, 
pp.105-106. Emphasis original)

28/11/2007
"Another fascinating story, which strikes closer to home, is the hypothesis that our species, Homo 
sapiens, descended from earlier primates via an intermediate species that was aquatic (Hardy 1960, Morgan 
1982, 1990)! These aquatic apes purportedly lived on the shores of an island formed by the flooding of the 
area that is now in Ethiopia, during the late Miocene, about seven million years ago. Cut off by the flooding 
from their cousins onfrican continent, and challenged by a relatively sudden change in their climate 
and food sources, they developed a taste for shellfish, and over a period of a million years or so they began 
the evolutionary process of returning to the sea that we know was undergone earlier by whales, dolphins, 
seals, and otters, for instance. The process was well under way, leading to the fixation of many curious 
characteristics that are otherwise found only in aquatic mammals-not in any other primate, for example-when 
circumstances changed once again, and these semi-seagoing apes returned to a life on the land (but 
typically on the shore of sea, lake, or river). There, they found that many of the adaptations they had 
developed for good reasons in their shell-diving days were not only not valuable but a positive hindrance. 
They soon turned these handicaps to good uses, however, or at least made compensations for them: their 
upright, bipedal posture, their subcutaneous layer of fat, their hairlessness, perspiration, tears, inability to 
respond to salt deprivation in standard mammalian ways, and, of course, the diving reflex-which permits 
even newborn human infants to survive sudden submersion in water for long periods with no ill effects." 
(Dennett, D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life," [1995], Penguin: London, 
Reprinted, 1996, p.243) 

28/11/2007
"The details-and there are many, many more-are so ingenious, and the whole aquatic-ape theory is so 
shockingly antiestablishment, that I for one would love to see it vindicated. That does not make it true, of 
course. The fact that its principal exponent these days is not only a woman, Elaine Morgan, but an amateur, 
a science writer without proper official credentials in spite of her substantial researches, makes the prospect 
of vindication all the more enticing. The establishment has responded quite ferociously to her challenges, 
mostly treating them as beneath notice, but occasionally subjecting them to withering rebuttal. This is not 
necessarily a pathological reaction. Most uncredentialed proponents of scientific `revolutions' are kooks 
who really are not worth paying any attention to. There really are a lot of them besieging us, and life is too 
short to give each uninvited hypothesis its proper day in court. But in this case, I wonder; many of the 
counterarguments seem awfully thin and ad hoc. During the last few years, when I have found myself in 
the company of distinguished biologists, evolutionary theorists, paleo-anthropologists, and other experts, I 
have often asked them just to tell me, please, exactly why Elaine Morgan must be wrong about the aquatic-
ape theory. I haven't yet had a reply worth mentioning, aside from those who admit, with a twinkle in their 
eyes, that they have often wondered the same thing." (Dennett, D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution 
and the Meanings of Life," [1995], Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1996, p.244)

28/11/2007
"There seems to be nothing inherently impossible about the idea; other mammals have made the plunge, 
after all. Why couldn't our ancestors have started back into the ocean and then retreated, bearing some 
telltale scars of this history? Morgan may be `accused' of telling a good story-she certainly has-but not of 
declining to try to test it. On the contrary, she has used the story as leverage to coax a host of surprising 
predictions out of a variety of fields, and has been willing to adjust her theory when the results have 
demanded it. Otherwise, she has stuck to her guns and, in fact, invited attack on her views through the 
vehemence of her partisanship. As so often happens in such a confrontation, the intransigence and 
defensiveness, on both sides, have begun to take their toll, creating one of those spectacles that then 
discourage anyone who just wants to know the truth from having anything more to do with the subject. 
Morgan's latest book on the topic ([The Scars of Evolution] 1990) responded with admirable clarity, 
however, to the objections that had been lodged to date, and usefully contrasted the strengths and 
weaknesses of the aquatic-ape theory to those of the establishment's history. And, more recently still, a 
book has appeared that collects essays by a variety of experts, for and against the aquatic-ape theory: 
Roede et al. 1991. The tentative verdict of the organizers of the 1987 conference from which that book 
sprang (p. 324) is that, `while there are a number of arguments favoring the AAT, they are not sufficiently 
convincing to counteract the arguments against it.' That judicious note of mild disparagement helps ensure 
that the argument will continue, perhaps even with less rancor; it will be interesting to see where it all comes 
out." (Dennett, D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life," [1995], Penguin: 
London, Reprinted, 1996, p.244-245

28/11/2007
"My point in raising the aquatic-ape theory is not to defend it against the establishment view, but to use it 
as an illustration of a deeper worry. Many biologists would like to say, `A pox on both your houses!' 
Morgan (1990 ) deftly exposes the hand-waving and wishful thinking that have gone into the 
establishment's tale about how-and why-Homo sapiens developed bipedalism, sweating, and 
hairlessness on the savanna, not the seashore. Their stories may not be literally as fishy as hers, but some 
of them are pretty farfetched; they are every bit as speculative, and (I venture to say) no better confirmed. 
What they mainly have going for them, so far as I can see, is that they occupied the high ground in the 
textbooks before Hardy and Morgan tried to dislodge them. Both sides are indulging in adaptationist Just 
So Stories, and since some story or other must be true, we must not conclude we have found the story 
just because we have come up with a story that seems to fit the facts. To the extent that adaptationists have 
been less than energetic in seeking further confirmation (or dreaded disconfirmation ) of their stories, this is 
certainly an excess that deserves criticism." (Dennett, D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the 
Meanings of Life," [1995], Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1996, p.245. Emphasis original) 

28/11/2007
"The geneticist Steve Jones (["A Slower Kind of Bang"] 1993, p. 20 ) gives us another case in point: There are 
more than three hundred strikingly different species of cichlid fish in Lake Victoria. They are so different; 
how did they get there? `The conventional view is that Lake Victoria must once have dried up into many 
small lakes to allow each species to evolve. Apart from the fish themselves, there is no evidence that this 
ever happened.' Adaptationist stories do get disconfirmed and abandoned, however. My favorite example 
is the now- discredited explanation of why certain sea turtles migrate all the way across the Atlantic between 
Africa and South America, spawning on one side, feeding on the other. According to this all-too-reasonable 
story, the habit started when Africa and South America were first beginning to split apart; at that time, the 
turtles were just going across the bay to spawn; the distance grew imperceptibly longer over the eons, until 
their descendants dutifully cross an ocean to get to where their instinct still tells them to spawn. I gather 
that the timing of the breakup of Gondwanaland turns out not to match the evolutionary timetable for the 
turtles, sad to say, but wasn't it a cute idea?" (Dennett, D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the 
Meanings of Life," [1995], Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1996, p.245. Emphasis original)

29/11/2007
"Understanding the literature on human evolution calls for the recognition of special problems that confront 
scientists who report on this topic. Regardless. of how the scientists present them, accounts of human 
origins are read as replacement material for genesis. They fulfil needs that are reflected in the fact that all 
societies have in their culture some form of origin beliefs, that is, some narrative or configurational notion of 
how the world and humanity began. Usually, these beliefs do more than cope with curiosity, they have 
allegorical content, and they convey values, ethics and attitudes. The Adam and Eve creation story of the 
Bible is simply one of a wide variety of such poetic formulations." (Isaac, G., in Isaac, B., ed., "The 
Archaeology of Human Origins: Papers by Glynn Isaac," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1990, 
p.96)

29/11/2007
"We are conscious of a great change in all this, starting in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, The 
scientific movement which culminated in Darwin's compelling formulation of evolution as a mode of origin 
seemed to sweep away earlier beliefs and relegate them to the realm of myth and legend. Following on from 
this, it is often supposed that the myths have been replaced by something quite different. which we call 
`science'.' However. this is only partly true: scientific theories and information about human origins have 
been slotted into the same old places in our minds and our cultures that used to be occupied by the myths, 
the information component has then inevitably been expanded to fill the same needs. Our new origin beliefs 
are in fact surrogate myths, that are themselves part science, part myths." (Isaac, G., in Isaac, B., ed., "The 
Archaeology of Human Origins: Papers by Glynn Isaac," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1990, 
p.96)

29/11/2007
"Like nearly everything else, evolution was invented, or almost invented, by the Greeks. From Heraclitus 
and Anaximander came the suggestion that animal species are mutable; from Aristotle, the idea of a graded 
series of organisms, the idea of continuity in nature or the shading of one class into another, and a model of 
evolutionary process in the development of the germ into the plant. From both the Stoics and the 
Epicureans, and particularly from Lucretius, came the doctrine that man is a part of nature and that his 
origins are animal and savage rather than godlike and idyllic." (Irvine, W., "Apes, Angels and Victorians: 
The Story of Darwin, Huxley, and Evolution," McGraw-Hill: New York NY, 1955, pp.84-85)

29/11/2007
"Already in The Origin of Species Darwin is haunted by the mystery of genetics. If variations cause 
evolution, what causes variations? He attacks the problem in the first and second chapters, and finally at 
length in the fifth. The discussion is cautious and sensible but also vague and occasionally confused. He 
sometimes talks as though natural selection not only sifts variations but causes them. Later, when taken to 
task for these lapses by Lyell and Wallace, he rectified many passages but allowed a few to remain, even in 
the last edition of his book. In general, he holds that variations arise through unknown hereditary factors 
within the organism, through use and disuse, the correlation of parts, and changes in environment. 
Domestic animals are extremely variable because man has introduced them into many and diverse regions. 
The domestic duck cannot rise from the ground because it has long ceased to need or use its wings. 
Significantly, its young can still fly. In short, he is often, so to speak, a Buffonian or a Lamarckian on the 
genetic level. At his best, he simply acknowledges a complete ignorance of the whole subject." (Irvine, W., 
"Apes, Angels and Victorians: The Story of Darwin, Huxley, and Evolution," McGraw-Hill: New York NY, 1955, 
p.92)

29/11/2007
"Darwin's matter was as English as his method. Terrestrial history turned out to be strangely like Victorian 
history writ large. Bertrand Russell. and others have remarked that Darwin's theory was mainly "an extension 
to the animal and vegetable world of laissez faire economics." [Russell, B., "Religion and Science," Home 
University Library: London, 1935, pp.72-73] As a matter of fact, the economic conceptions of utility, 
pressure of population, marginal fertility, barriers in restraint of trade, the division of labor, progress and 
adjustment by competition, and the spread of technological improvements can all be paralleled in The 
Origin of Species. But so, also, can some of the doctrines of English political conservatism. In revealing the 
importance of time and the hereditary past, in emphasizing the persistence of vestigial structures, the 
minuteness of variations and the slowness of evolution, Darwin was adding Hooker and Burke to Bentham 
and Adam Smith. The constitution of the universe exhibited many of the virtues of the English 
Constitution." (Irvine, W., "Apes, Angels and Victorians: The Story of Darwin, Huxley, and Evolution," 
McGraw-Hill: New York NY, 1955, p.98)

29/11/2007
"You could not see natural selection at work. Therefore it was a mere empty speculation. But in a more 
particular sense the sore point was natural selection itself. It seemed to substitute accident-or, as some 
felt, mechanism-for intelligent purpose in the natural order. ... Natural selection was an ingenious 
hypothesis but of course it could not be taken seriously. It omitted its own ultimate and governing 
factor. The American Asa Gray, a warm and sincere Darwinian, held that, so far from representing 
chance, natural selection embodied a blind necessity totally incompatible with theism, unless the 
stream of variations themselves could be conceived as guided by design. [Gray, A. "Design versus 
Necessity," in "Darwiniana," D. Appleton & Co: New York NY, 1876, pp.75-76] ... When Asa Gray 
pleaded that variations might be divinely guided, Darwin was all sympathy and understanding. 
Nevertheless, he felt that the more divine guidance in variations, the less reality in natural selection. 
Moreover, his study of domestic animals convinced him that variations were totally undesigned. Surely 
God had no interest in enabling man to develop such vanities as the fantail and tumbler pigeons. 
Darwin was quick to defend the integrity of his own principles but slow to follow the argument into 
theology." (Irvine, W., "Apes, Angels and Victorians: The Story of Darwin, Huxley, and Evolution," 
McGraw-Hill: New York NY, 1955, p.108)

29/11/2007
"At the end of his life, he [Darwin] spoke out frankly in the `Autobiography:' As usual, he explained himself 
with a history. His religion had wasted away before his science in a war of attrition so gradual that, in his 
own words, he `felt no distress' and hardly realized that a shot had been fired. Soon after his return to 
England, while yet hesitating between an evolutionary and a theological biology, he had discovered -no 
doubt with astonishment-that he had become a complete skeptic about Revelation. His ideas of progress 
and evolution-secondarily, his humanitarianism-had been decisive. He saw that scriptures and mythology 
were part of the evolution of every people. `The Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the sacred 
books of the Hindoos,' [Darwin, C.R. in Barlow, N., ed., "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin," W.W. 
Norton & Co: New York, 1958, p.85] not only because of `its manifestly false history of the world' but 
because of `its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant.' [Ibid, p.85] He rejected Christian 
miracles because they were similar to those in other mythologies, because they rested on dubious and 
conflicting testimony, and because they contradicted the uniformitarianism he had learned from Lyell. He 
also rejected the divinity of Jesus and doubted the supremacy of Christian ethics. `Beautiful as is the 
morality of the New Testament, it can hardly be denied that its perfection depends in part on the 
interpretation we now put on metaphors and allegories:' [Ibid, p.86]" (Irvine, W., "Apes, Angels and 
Victorians: The Story of Darwin, Huxley, and Evolution," McGraw-Hill: New York NY, 1955, p.109)

29/11/2007
"Do you want to be happy? Of course you do! Then what's standing in your way? Your happiness is 
entirely up to you. This has been revealed to us by a man of divine serenity and wisdom who spent his life 
among us, and showed us, by his personal example and by his teaching, the path to redemption from 
unhappiness. His name was Epicurus. ... The fundamental obstacle to happiness, says Epicurus, is anxiety. 
No matter how rich or famous you are, you won't be happy if you're anxious to be richer or more famous. No 
matter how good your health is, you won't be happy if you're anxious about getting sick. You can't be happy 
in this life if you're worried about the next life. You can't be happy as a human being if you're worried about 
being punished or victimized by powerful divine beings. But you can be happy if you believe in the four 
basic truths of Epicureanism: there are no divine beings which threaten us; there is no next life; what we 
actually need is easy to get; what makes us suffer is easy to put up with. This is the so-called 'four-part 
cure', the Epicurean remedy for the epidemic sickness of human anxiety; as a later Epicurean puts it, `Don't 
fear god, don't worry about death; what's good is easy to get, and what's terrible is easy to endure.'" 
(Hutchinson, D.S., "Introduction," in Inwood, B. & Gerson, L.P., eds, "The Epicurus Reader," Hackett 
Publishing Co: Indianapolis IN, 1994, p.vii. Emphasis original)

29/11/2007
"`Don't worry about death.' While you are alive, you don't have to deal with being dead, but when you are 
dead you don't have to deal with it either, because you aren't there to deal with it. `Death is nothing to us,' 
as Epicurus puts it, for `when we exist, death is not yet present, and when death is present, then we do not 
exist.' [Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus, text 4, section 125] Death is always irrelevant to us, even though it 
causes considerable anxiety to many people for much of their lives. Worrying about death casts a general 
pall over the experience of living, either because people expect to exist after their deaths and are humbled 
and terrified into ingratiating themselves with the gods, who might well punish them for their misdeeds, or 
else because they are saddened and terrified by the prospect of not existing after their deaths. But there are 
no gods which threaten us, and, even if there were, we would not be there to be punished. Our souls are 
flimsy things which are dissipated when we die, and even if the stuff of which they were made were to 
survive intact, that would be nothing to us, because what matters to us is the continuity of our experience, 
which is severed by the parting of body and soul. It is not sensible to be afraid of ceasing to exist, since you 
already know what it is like not to exist; consider any time before your birth-was it disagreeable not to exist? 
And if there is nothing bad about not existing, then there is nothing bad for your friend when he ceases to 
exist, nor is there anything bad for you about being fated to cease to exist. It is a confusion to be worried by 
your mortality, and it is an ingratitude to resent the limitations of life, like some greedy dinner guest who 
expects an indefinite number of courses and refuses to leave the table." (Hutchinson, D.S., "Introduction," 
in Inwood, B. & Gerson, L.P., eds, "The Epicurus Reader," Hackett Publishing Co: Indianapolis IN, 1994, 
p.viii-ix)

29/11/2007
"`Don't fear god.' The gods are happy and immortal, as the very concept of `god' indicates. But in Epicurus' 
view, most people were in a state of confusion about the gods, believing them to be intensely concerned 
about what human beings were up to and exerting tremendous effort to favour their worshippers and punish 
their mortal enemies. No; it is incompatible with the concept of divinity to suppose that the gods exert 
themselves or that they have any concerns at all. The most accurate, as well as the most agreeable, 
conception of the gods is to think of them, as the Greeks often did, in a state of bliss, unconcerned about 
anything, without needs, invulnerable to any harm, and generally living an enviable life. So conceived, they 
are role models for Epicureans, who emulate the happiness of the gods, within the limits imposed by human 
nature. `Epicurus said that he was prepared to compete with Zeus in happiness, as long as he had a barley 
cake and some water.' If, however, the gods are as independent as this conception indicates, then they will 
not observe the sacrifices we make to them, and Epicurus was indeed widely regarded as undermining the 
foundations of traditional religion. Furthermore, how can Epicurus explain the visions that we receive of the 
gods, if the gods don't deliberately send them to us? These visions, replies Epicurus, are material images 
travelling through the world, like everything else that we see or imagine, and are therefore something real; 
they travel through the world because of the general laws of atomic motion, not because god sends them. 
But then what sort of bodies must the gods have, if these images are always streaming off them, and yet 
they remain strong and invulnerable? Their bodies, replies Epicurus, are continually replenished by images 
streaming towards them; indeed the `body' of a god may be nothing more than a focus to which the images 
travel, the images that later travel to us and make up our conception of its nature." (Hutchinson, D.S., 
"Introduction," in Inwood, B. & Gerson, L.P., eds, "The Epicurus Reader," Hackett Publishing Co: 
Indianapolis IN, 1994, pp.ix-x)

29/11/2007
"If the gods do not exert themselves for our benefit, how is it that the world around us is suitable for our 
habitation? It happened by accident, said Epicurus, an answer that gave ancient critics ample opportunity 
for ridicule, and yet it makes him a thinker of a very modern sort, well ahead of his time. Epicurus believed 
that the universe is a material system governed by the laws of matter. The fundamental elements of matter 
are atoms, which move, collide, and form larger structures according to physical laws. These larger 
structures can sometimes develop into yet larger structures by the addition of more matter, and sometimes 
whole worlds will develop. These worlds are extremely numerous and variable; some will be unstable, but 
others will be stable. The stable ones will persist and give the appearance of being designed to be stable, 
like our world, and living structures will sometimes develop out of the elements of these worlds. This theory 
is no longer as unbelievable as it was to the non-Epicurean scientists and philosophers of the ancient world, 
and its broad outlines may well be true." (Hutchinson, D.S., "Introduction," in Inwood, B. & Gerson, L.P., 
eds, "The Epicurus Reader," Hackett Publishing Co: Indianapolis IN, 1994, pp.ix-x)

29/11/2007
"We happen to have a great deal of evidence about the Epicurean philosophy of nature, which served as a 
philosophical foundation for the rest of the system. But many Epicureans would have had little interest in 
this subject, nor did they need to, if their curiosity or scepticism did not drive them to ask fundamental 
questions. What was most important in Epicurus' philosophy of nature was the overall conviction that our 
life on this earth comes with no strings attached; that there is no Maker whose puppets we are; that there is 
no script for us to follow and be constrained by; that it is up to us to discover the real constraints which our 
own nature imposes on us. When we do this, we find something very delightful: life is free, life is good, 
happiness is possible, and we can enjoy the bliss of the gods, rather than abasing ourselves to our 
misconceptions of them." (Hutchinson, D.S., "Introduction," in Inwood, B. & Gerson, L.P., eds, "The 
Epicurus Reader," Hackett Publishing Co: Indianapolis IN, 1994, p.x)

29/11/2007
"abiogenesis The origin of living from nonliving matter, as by  *biopoiesis. See also spontaneous 
generation." (Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," [1984], Oxford 
University Press: Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, p.1. Emphasis original)

29/11/2007
"biogenesis The principle that a living organism can only arise from other living organisms similar to itself 
(i.e. that like gives rise to like) and can never originate from nonliving material. Compare spontaneous 
generation." (Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," [1984], Oxford 
University Press: Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, p.74. Emphasis original)

29/11/2007
"biopoiesis The development of living matter from complex organic molecules that are themselves 
nonliving but self-replicating. It is the process by which life is assumed to have begun. See origin of life." 
(Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," [1984], Oxford University Press: 
Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, p.74. Emphasis original)

29/11/2007
"Darwinism The theory of *evolution proposed by Charles Darwin (1809-82) in On the Origin of 
Species (1859), which postulated that present-day species have evolved from simpler ancestral types by 
the process of  *natural selection acting on the variability found within populations. On the Origin of 
Species caused a furore when it was first published because it suggested that species are not immutable 
nor were they specially created - a view directly opposed to the doctrine of  *special creation. However the 
wealth of evidence presented by Darwin gradually convinced most people and the only major unresolved 
problem was to explain how the variations in populations arose and were maintained from one generation to 
the next. This became clear with the rediscovery of Mendel's work on classical genetics in the 1900s and led 
to the present theory known as neo-Darwinism." (Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science 
Dictionary," [1984], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, p.183. Emphasis original)

29/11/2007
"Evolution The gradual process by which the present diversity of plant and animal life arose from the 
earliest and most primitive organisms, which is believed to have been continuing for at least the past 3000 
million years. Until the middle of the 18th century it was generally believed that each species was divinely 
created and fixed in its form throughout its existence (see special creation). Lamarck was the first biologist 
to publish a theory to explain how one species could have evolved into another (see Lamarckism), but it was 
not until the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species in 1859 that special creation was seriously 
challenged. Unlike Lamarck, Darwin proposed a feasible mechanism for evolution and backed it up with 
evidence from the fossil record and studies of comparative anatomy and embryology (see Darwinism; 
natural selection). The modern version of Darwinism, which incorporates discoveries in genetics made since 
Darwin's time, probably remains the most acceptable theory of species evolution. More controversial, 
however, and still to be firmly clarified, are the relationships and evolution of groups above the species 
level." (Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," [1984], Oxford University 
Press: Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, pp.251-252. Emphasis original)

29/11/2007
"neo-Darwinism (modern synthesis) The current theory of the process of *evolution, formulated between 
about 1920 and 1950, that combines evidence from classical genetics with the Darwinian theory of evolution 
by  *natural selection (see Darwinism). It makes use of modern knowledge of genes and chromosomes to 
explain the source of the genetic variation upon which selection works. This aspect was unexplained by 
traditional Darwinism." (Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," [1984], 
Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, pp.459-460. Emphasis original)

29/11/2007
"origin of life The process by which living organisms developed from inanimate matter, which is generally 
thought to have occurred on earth between 3500 and 4000 million years ago. It is supposed that the 
primordial atmosphere was like a chemical soup containing all the basic constituents of organic matter: 
ammonia, methane, hydrogen, and water vapour. These underwent a process of chemical evolution using 
energy from the sun and electric storms to combine into ever more complex molecules, such as amino acids, 
proteins, and vitamins. Eventually self-replicating nucleic acids, the basis of all life, could have developed. 
The very first organisms may have consisted of such molecules bounded by a simple membrane. " (Isaacs, 
A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," [1984], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 
Second Edition, 1991, p.491. Emphasis original)

29/11/2007
"Special Creation. The belief, in accordance with the Book of Genesis, that every species was individually 
created by God in the form in which it exists today and is not capable of undergoing any change. It was the 
generally accepted explanation of the origin of life until the advent of  *Darwinism. The idea has recently 
enjoyed a revival, especially among members of the fundamentalist movement in the USA, partly because 
there still remain problems that cannot be explained entirely by Darwinian theory. However, special creation 
is contradicted by fossil evidence and genetic studies, and the pseudoscientific arguments of creation 
science cannot stand up to logical examination." (Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise 
Science Dictionary," [1984], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, pp.646-647. 
Emphasis original)

29/11/2007
"spontaneous generation The discredited belief that living organism can somehow be produced by-
nonliving matter. For example, it was once thought that microorganisms arose by the process of decay and 
even that vermin spontaneously developed from household rubbish. Controlled experiments using sterilized 
media by Pasteur and others finally disproved these notions. Compare biogenesis. See also biopoiesis" 
(Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," [1984], Oxford University Press: 
Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, pp.652-653. Emphasis original)

30/11/2007
"My favourite inhabitant of that [ultramicroscopic] world is a virus, but not one that preys on human 
beings. They too are marvellous, but the virus that first captured my imagination-and still holds it-was 
something called a bacteriophage, a `bacteria-eater.' Now simply called phage ... the existence of these 
specialized parasites was first deduced early in the twentieth century. They were not even seen; their 
presence was inferred. One of the discoverers of these beasts was a Montrealer by birth, Felix d'Herelle. 
When in Mexico in 1910 investigating a plague of locusts, he discovered that many of the insects were 
dying of a bacterial infection. When he grew cultures of these bacteria on plates of jellied nutrient in the lab, 
he noticed clear spots in an otherwise dense `lawn' of bacteria. Something was killing the bacteria in those 
spots, and that something passed right through filters that held back even the smallest bacteria. A few years 
later, after discovering the same phenomenon among the bacteria that cause dysentery in humans, d'Herelle 
concluded that an `invisible microbe' was responsible: a bacterial virus." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," 
in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 
2005, pp.200-201)

30/11/2007
"One of his first thoughts was that these viruses could be employed as a weapon against bacterial diseases 
... However the `bacteria-eaters' held great fascination for biologists nonetheless because their simplicity 
offered a unique opportunity to unlock some of the fundamental secrets of life. That promise has been partly 
realized: phages have revealed much of the molecular underpinnings of life, although there is still much 
remaining to be discovered. What they have illustrated most vividly is that even in a world of molecular 
scale, predator and prey play familiar roles: one moves, the other countermoves." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria 
Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, 
Reprinted, 2005, p.201)

30/11/2007
"One of the intriguing paradoxes of these beasts is that much of what we know about them has been 
determined from biochemical experiments, not by visualizing them. Felix d'Herelle, the pioneer of the 
research, could only have seen a bacteriophage near the end of his life-the first photos using the electron 
microscope were taken in the early 1940s. The electron microscope evaded the limit imposed by the 
wavelength of light by using a beam of electrons instead, giving this microscope the capacity to see objects 
a hundred times smaller than had ever been seen before. Even so, it has limits: specimens must be dried and 
prepared for viewing, so any phage seen in the electron microscope is dead, dried and long past being able 
to infect any bacterial host. Nonetheless seeing a phage is a revelatory experience, not only confirming the 
portrait painted by the biochemistry (the criminal suspect turns out to look just like the artist's composite 
drawing) but also reinforcing the idea that nature is endlessly inventive-and savage." (Ingram, J., "The 
Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: 
London, Reprinted, 2005, pp.201-202)

30/11/2007
"One more tricky issue before we enter this world: I've called it a `beast' but bacteriophage and all other 
viruses are not really alive. They can reproduce, but only inside a host cell, where they divert the cellular 
machinery from its normal tasks to the manufacture of viruses. Once outside that cell they are essentially 
inert chemical packages. They have great potential, but are incapable of realizing it on their own. They are 
on the borderline of life." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange 
Tales from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.202)

30/11/2007
"There are many bacteriophages, one or more for every kind of bacterium. They have been studied, not so 
much because they are interesting in and of themselves, but because they are relatively simple objects that 
can shed light on how genes work. The one that is probably the most intensively studied in a virus called T4 
that parasitizes E. coli, the bacterium with the misfortune of being known mostly for its association with 
human feces-water quality tests search for the presence of coliform bacteria as an index of exposure of that 
water to human waste." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales 
from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.202)

30/11/2007
"Under ideal laboratory conditions an E. coli cell can divide every twenty minutes. Obviously, as has 
been pointed out many times before, that can't possibly be happening in the natural habitat (your intestine) 
or the earth would be swamped by these bacteria in a couple of days. Nonetheless coliform bacteria 
represent a highly evolved, incredibly efficient life form; thus any organism that would target it must be 
highly evolved as well, and the T4 bacteriophage fits the bill. In fact it is speculated that T4 probably 
appeared on the planet shortly after its bacterial hosts, which puts its arrival at something like three and a 
half billion years ago. Its modus operandi substantiates the view that it is anything but primitive." 
(Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," [2001], 
Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, pp.202-203)

30/11/2007
"The unwitting victim, the E. coli cell, may be just visible at the limits of the ordinary light microscope, but 
it dwarfs T4, its killer. If an E. coli cell were a breakfast sausage, a T4 phage would be about the size of a 
black peppercorn. And remember, there could be five thousand such sausages laid end-to-end across your 
fingernail." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from 
Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.203)

30/11/2007
"It's very easy to demonstrate in the lab just how devastating a T4 infection can be for E. coli. 
Bacteriologists can grow the bacteria on agar gel in a petri plate. If the gel incorporates the right nutrients, a 
population of E. coli will grow at remarkable speed, soon covering the surface of the gel completely with a 
lawn of bacterial cells. If one hundred phages were introduced to that lawn, you would soon see one 
hundred circular clearings (just as Felix d'Herelle did), areas where billions of bacterial cells have died, killed 
by one virus and its offspring. It's true that the bacteria reproduce quickly, but the phage does better: an 
original single virus infecting one bacterial cell will produce two hundred new viruses in half an hour. Each 
of those two hundred move on to infect another cell, and so it goes. That's impressive, but it is just 
numbers. The beast itself, the chase and the kill are remarkable." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The 
Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, 
pp.203-204)

30/11/2007
"A T4 phage looks a little like the Apollo lunar lander. It has a geometric head, a tail, and a set of tail fibres 
that spread out and attach to the surface of the bacterium. In function, however, it is more like a completely 
self-contained robotic spacecraft-fully preprogrammed. The manufactured appearance-the unlifelike 
symmetry-is surprising at first look, probably because we think of microscopic infectors as tiny worms, or 
even miasmic gases, concepts left over from centuries ago. But the forces that dominate this world (where 
objects are millionths of a metre in size or less) are powerful short-range chemical bonds, and structures are 
nakedly molecular. For instance, a molecule will attract or repel others depending on the haze of electric 
charge surrounding its projections or the shape and orientation of tiny crevasses on its surface. A second 
molecule might fit like a hand in a glove or it might never make contact. This isn't to say that life in our world 
isn't dictated by the same kind of chemistry-it is. But other forces, especially gravity, play a dominant role. In 
the world of the phage, chemistry is it." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And 
Other Strange Tales from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.204)

30/11/2007
"In the absence of prey, the T4 phage simply drifts with the tide-it is not capable of seeking out E. coli. In 
drift mode the tail fibres are stowed, pinned up alongside the tail. However, when the virus comes into 
contact with the surface of the bacterial cell, the tail fibres immediately swing down and spread out, and are 
the first parts of T4 actually to touch the E. coli cell. They will attach wherever they contact a specific 
receptor molecule that's part of the external coat of the bacterium. However, the bond between one tail fibre 
and its receptor is weak, too weak to anchor the virus. There are six such fibres and at least three must make 
contact before capture is complete. That doesn't happen immediately because the receptors are distributed 
across the surface of the bacterium like occasional repeating tiles in a mosaic. This is the first step of what 
phage scientists call the `phage mating dance.' T4 walks across the surface of its intended victim, tail fibres 
attaching, then detaching, until finally it makes sufficient, and permanent, contact." (Ingram, J., "The 
Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: 
London, Reprinted, 2005, pp.204-205)

30/11/2007
"Once anchored, a remarkable series of events ensues. The virus adjusts its position so that the tail is 
positioned over a thin portion of the surface of the bacterium. Tail fibres attached to the flat base plate of 
the tail extend and pin the virus down (no escape now) and suddenly the base plate itself mysteriously 
changes shape from hexagonal to star-shaped. This triggers a rearrangement of the molecules of the outer 
sheath of the tail; the sheath contracts, the tail fibres bend and the virus is pulled down closer to the cell 
surface. The core of the tail actually penetrates partway through the multilayered outer envelope of the 
bacterium, an event likely made easier by enzymes in the base plate that chop up some of the surface 
molecules in that envelope." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange 
Tales from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.205)

30/11/2007
"Now the head of the virus sits just above the cell. The head is a rigid hollow case in the shape of an 
icosahedron, a regular twenty-sided geometric figure. It contains the genes of the phage, more than one 
hundred and fifty of them, all linked together in one long thread of DNA. Long of course is a relative term, 
but the phage DNA, stretched out, would measure several hundred times the dimensions of the head. No 
one is yet sure exactly how that much DNA is packed into that tiny space, a space made tinier by the fact 
that special packing molecules are stuffed in there as well. But at this point in the phage mating dance, the 
DNA isn't going to be locked inside the head much longer." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The 
Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, 
pp.205-206)

30/11/2007
"When the hexagonal base plate changed its shape, it opened up a channel wide enough for a single DNA 
double helix to pass through. Now the huge string of phage DNA, its entire genome, snakes its way through 
the tail, through the bacterial surface envelopes, the rigid cell wall and into the interior. It's all over in less 
than a minute, this process that some researchers have likened to throwing a potful of spaghetti-one 
enormous strand-into a colander and having the end of that strand find its way through a hole and then feed 
itself through completely. The energy to do that has to come from somewhere, but it's not yet clear where. 
One thing is certain: once the phage DNA has entered the E. coli cell the poor bacterium is not long for 
this world. And it is about to suffer the indignity of contributing through its death to the multiplication of 
the phage." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from 
Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.206)

30/11/2007
"It's simple really. Among the hundred-and-fifty-plus genes in the phage DNA are those that direct (through 
the molecules they make) the shutdown of almost all E. coli activities. However, the cellular machinery 
formerly used to make E. coli membranes, enzymes, structural protein molecules-the machinery that 
maintained the bacterium's pulse of life-remains unscathed and is instantly converted to creating new 
phages. The now commandeered bacterial cell becomes a factory floor for phage parts. As the minutes tick 
by scaffolds for building new heads appear here, tail fibres there, baseplates over here. It might appear 
simple, but in fact some of these parts are composed of several different kinds of molecules. David Coombs, 
a phage biologist at the University of New Brunswick, has called the base plate alone `one of the most 
challenging biological structures ever studied in molecular detail.' Some phage parts spontaneously self-
assemble from their components, but others must be engineered together under the guidance of yet more 
molecules." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from 
Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, pp.206-207)

30/11/2007
"A hint of the subtlety of engineering involved can be seen in the manufacture of new phage DNA. 
Naturally it's assembled using the machinery that E. coli used to make its own DNA. But what is it made 
out of? Pieces of E. coli DNA that were disorganized, then dismembered, mere minutes after the phage 
gained access to the interior of the cell. The phage manages to scavenge about twenty viruses' worth of 
DNA from host DNA. But the phage DNA is different in one important respect: one of the four DNA 
subunits is decorated with small molecules that identify it as uniquely phage. It's suspected this protects the 
phage DNA from enzymes inside the cell that normally attack and destroy any pieces of foreign DNA that 
they happen upon. It may even protect the intruder's DNA from its own DNA-destroying chemicals. 
Because such recognition is a molecular touch-and-feel sort of process, DNA with these unusual 
decorations escapes." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales 
from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.207)

30/11/2007
"Assembly continues in an ordered but rapid fashion. Fully mature heads are built around head scaffolds 
(which are then discarded), then stuffed with a complete set of genes. Tail fibres bond to base plates, tail 
cores to sheaths, base plates to tails, and before the half hour is out hundreds of new phages are ready to 
be released. One final enzyme is manufactured which chews away the bacterial envelope from the inside and 
the progeny viruses escape to begin the routine all over again." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The 
Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, 
p.207)

30/11/2007
"How do any E. coli survive in the face of such diabolical evolutionary design? They might come up with 
alterations to the receptors that the tail fibres recognize, which would literally make them `invisible' to the 
phage, but there's good evidence that the phages can simply respond by altering their tail fibres to make 
them visible again. E. coli also makes a variety of defensive DNA-destroying enzymes, but T4 can evade 
many of those by decorating its own DNA, although there's likely an ongoing battle here, with E. coli 
cells swapping defence genes among themselves." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's 
Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, pp.207-208)

30/11/2007
"Perhaps the most effective defences are what are called `guests' hiding in the E. coli DNA. These are 
genes left behind in the E. coli chromosome by other phages or in some case by some unknown visitor. 
These alien genes will not permit the T4 to reproduce inside the E. coli cell, but this act of defiance is a 
noble one for the bacterium, because the bacterium dies in the process, reminiscent of the infamous phrase 
from the Vietnam War, `We had to destroy the village to save it.' In this molecular version, however, death 
of the bacterium does insure that no new viruses will be produced from it." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria 
Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," [2001], Aurum Press: London, 
Reprinted, 2005, p.208)

30/11/2007
"mutation A sudden random change in the genetic material of a cell that may cause it and all cells derived 
from it to differ in appearance or behaviour from the normal type. An organism affected by a mutation 
(especially one with visible effects) is described as a mutant. Somatic mutations affect the 
nonreproductive cells and are therefore restricted to the tissues of a single organism but germline 
mutations, which occur in the reproductive cells or their precursors, may be transmitted to the organism's 
descendants and cause abnormal development. Mutations occur naturally at a low rate but this may be 
increased by radiation and by some chemicals (see mutagen). Most (the gene mutations) consist of 
invisible changes in the DNA of the chromosomes, but some (the chromosome mutations) affect the 
appearance or the number of the chromosomes. An example of a chromosome mutation is that giving rise to 
*Down's syndrome. The majority of mutations are harmful, but a very small proportion may increase an 
organism's *fitness; these spread through the population over successive generations by natural selection. 
Mutation is therefore essential for evolution, being the ultimate source of genetic variation." (Isaacs, A., 
Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," [1984], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 
Second Edition, 1991, p.455. Emphasis original)

30/11/2007
"natural selection The process that, according to *Darwinism, brings about the evolution of new species 
of animals and plants. Darwin noted that the size of any population tends to remain constant despite the fact 
that more offspring are produced than are needed to maintain it. He also saw that variations existed between 
individuals of the population and concluded that disease, competition, and other forces acting on the 
population eliminated those individuals less well adapted to their environment. The survivors would pass 
on any inheritable advantageous characteristics (i.e. characteristics with survival value) to their offspring 
and in time the composition of the population would change in adaptation to a changing environment. Over 
a long period of time this process could give rise to organisms so different from the original population that 
new species are formed.  See also adaptive radiation.  Compare punctuated equilibrium." (Isaacs, A., 
Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," [1984], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 
Second Edition, 1991, p.458. Emphasis original)

* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed not to be evolutionists. However, lack of an
asterisk does not necessarily mean that an author is an evolutionist.

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Copyright © 2006-2010, by Stephen E. Jones. All rights reserved. These my quotes may be used
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