One/Three Toed Horses
Fri, 17 May 1996 06:47:33 -0400

Hi Glenn,

In your May 15 post you wrote:

"Even today one in about 10,000 horses is born with 3 toes rather than the
1 toe that is normal. The change from 1 to the 3-toed condition is
sudden. There is no gradual development of toes over a series of
generations. What happened is that the gene for the expression of 3 toed
horses was turned on less and less often and thus more and more of the
horses were born with only 1 toe. There was a period of time in which the
two forms lived and interbred.

"In short, the transitional sequence is chimerical not an infinite sequence
of infinitesimal transitions. To demand that evolutionists hold the view
that most Christian apologists require is to demand that they believe
something that they don't believe. In other words it is to set up a

Let me respond to these statements:

1. It is not just Christian apologists who hold to an infinite sequence of
infinitesimal transitions. Dawkins and Dennett, two prominent eovlutionists,
hold that any complex design can occur only if the steps to the change are
small enough, if there is enough time, and it each one enhances survival of
the organism in some way. They both go back to Darwin and embrace his basic
concept of natural selection as the universal agent of change. They are
hardly straw men. Do you depart from them?

2. I'm not familiar with chimeras except in broad outline. Calling the
transitional sequence chimerical, however, hardly explains how it originated,
does it?. A chimera, as I understand it, is a plant or animal whose tissues
are of two different genotypes, produced either by mutation or by grafting
(Martin. DICTIONARY OF LIFE SCIENCES). Grafting, or mixing together cells of
very early embryos, as is done experimentally to make chimeric mice, is of
course ruled out. That leaves mutations, doesn't it, to explain how the
genomes of one/three-toed horses became chimeric? If so, are the mutations
small, occurring unpredictably, over long periods of time, the phenotypes of
which are selected by the environment because of their superior adaptibility
and reproductive success? Or are they saltations?

I would appreciate your views on these matters. I am genuinely interested in
what is left of evolution if Darwinian natural selection is abandoned, as you
seem to be doing.


Robert Dehaan