MN (resp. to J. Witters)

Mon, 30 Mar 98 00:01:22 CT

Please forgive my slow response. I was away over the weekend.

On Fri, 27 Mar 1998 05:53:25 EST, Bob ( wrote:

>You might wish to read what Stephen J. Gould has to say...

Thank you for the reference. I am a prairie ecologist by "trade"
and my personal interest in all facets of the faith/science
interface is relatively recent. I appreciate the opportunities
afforded by the exchanges here.

>Johnson's statement is not far off target. I would say, "Darwin's
>mechanisms that produce microevolution cannot serve as a model for
>what is found in the fossil record."

I would still argue that Johnson's statement is well off target and
subtantiatively different from your statement. Johnson stated that
"the whole Darwinian scenario is contrary to the fossil and
experimental evidence". The Grants have simply served to illustrate
empirically the maleable nature of organisms in observeable time
(i.e. "Oscillating selection..." in Nature 327:511-513 (1987)) which
I believe was a possibility advanced by Darwin. A separate
consideration within the "Darwinian scenario" is the issue of
speciation. As Gould has argued, the microevolutionary model of
change cannot explain what is observed in the fossil record. Would
Gould argue that speciation occurs by processes independent of any
Darwinian (evolutionary) process?

Johnson is, IMO, misrepresenting a large body of evidence in favor
of evolutionary mechanisms. Now, if Darwin got some things confused
or even wrong (i.e. microevolutionary change begets species) why are
we surprised? My advisor is constantly hammering on the point that
if someone published a paper ten years ago and it still is without
criticism showing it to be wrong, then that we have not done our
job. Johnson is taking the opportunity given by the ordinary
working of science to entirely dismiss not just a portion of
Darwin's seminal work, but everything that has followed in its
footsteps and attributes continued adherance to simple dogma. To
which, I must voice my protest.

Jeff Witters

Emporia State University
Emporia, KS