Joel Duff (
Sat, 30 Aug 1997 14:38:11 -0500


Just when I think I have heard it all, I get a response to something I've
said that just boggles my mind. I have been involved in a long discussion
about "kinds" and the flood in which I have been addressing argument that
only a single representative of each kind entered the Ark and then upon
debarking diversified into the many thousands of species we see today.
Another part of the thesis, maybe less familiar to some, is the idea that
the same representatives of kinds were in the garden and it was those that
Adam named thus reducing the time he would have to spend on the 6th day.
Also it has been suggested to me that in the original creation there was
only a very small fraction of the diversity we see today. I have countered
with an argument that essentially asks, if this is true how did such
diversification occur especially considering that diversification into many
of the same species would have had to occur TWO times (Creation to Flood and
Flood to present) of which at least the later would be after a genetic
bottleneck. After writing a fairly detailed thesis analyzing the various
scenarios using lots of genetic examples the two responses I got were:

1) I don't have time to summerize his entire argument but read Sheldrake
(New Science of Life).

2) I don't think your argument is with me, its with Sheldrake.

I am corresponding with 6 day creationists but few of them are much into
scientific creationism yet I had expected a more classical scientific
creationists response. They simple are appealing to what they perceive as a
real scientific argument that is out there which can explain rapid
diversification from a simple "morphotype."

So I tromped off to the library and checked out Rupert Sheldrake "A New
Science of Life" 1981 and put a recall on his 1988 book. I've taken a good
look at it and I really don't know what to say in response. Unless his 1988
book has a lot more detail I don't see that Sheldrake answers my specific
genetical questions in the least. Overall I would just call the hypothesis

He admits in the preface: "Like any new hypothesis, it is essentially
speculative, and it will have to be tested experimentally before its value
can be judged." Unfortunately my audience will just say evolution and
old-age theories are just as speculative and so will apply equal value to
any hypothesis.

I'm not sure what I am going to do, but I was wondering if anyone has had
any similar experiences with people using Sheldrake as a defense for
Biblical lieteralists ideas. He doesn't seem a likely candidate for a
Creationist poster child since the book reads very new-agey to me. Does
anyone know what his background and qualifications are, it says almost
nothing in the preface about him. I couldn't help but think of Dr.
Senapathy's "The Independent Birth of Organisms" theory
( - I think someone posted
something about this just a week ago) which I presented for a class last
spring as a fun exercise in examining problems with evolutionary theory.

Am I going to learn anything new reading Sheldrake's 1988 book or should I
not hold my breath?

Joel Duff

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Dpt. Plant Biology, SIU

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