Re: Limits of Kinds

Bill Payne (
Tue, 11 Nov 1997 19:18:01 -0600

Scott A. Oakman wrote:

> I think it should also be pointed out that Mr. Payne is appealing to a popular
> fallacy that Evolution=Progressivism. (And by popular, I mean to convey that
> that is how just about everybody thinks of it in the lay world.) Progressivists
> may well put this philisophical "onward and upward" spin on evolution, or use
> evolution as support for their philosophical biases, but progressivism is not a
> necessary precept of biological evolution. A "picture" of evolution might be
> more one of "onward and OUTward"--with adaptations filling ecological niches,
> than "onward and upward" with successive generations "improving on previous
> models". If an animal is well adapted to fill a stable ecological niche, it
> very well might not be seen to continually evolve.

I remember reading several years ago in _Science_ magazine (I think)
that today we have about 30 species of blue-green algae which are
identical to preCambrian blue-green algae. We have identified about 90
preCambrian species of blue-green algae total, of which ~60 are extinct.

I don't care if we think of evolution as Progressive or Centrifugal;
either way it means things change through time. It is my understanding
that the two predominant characteristics of the fossil record are abrupt
appearance and stasis. To appeal to "a stable ecological niche" to
explain stasis seems a bit of a stretch for preCambrian algae which had
a wide-open ecosystem open before them begging to be occupied.

If evolution is the result of mutations and mutations are universal,
then how can anything AVOID evolving, especially during the 600+ million
years since the preCambrian? And especially for algae which float just
under the water's surface fully exposed to the incoming mutation-causing