Re: Letter to the Editor

David Campbell (
Thu, 4 Jun 1998 16:30:53 -0400

I would not be at all surprised if Gould were presenting his political
views as science; however, if such is weeded out, his science is probably

>Unlike physics, paleontology is a science in the sense of forensic science.
>The evidence for evolutionary transition of humans from apelike ancestors is
>not abundant enough to conclude, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it has
>occurred. The overwhelming numbers of Americans still believe in a Creator.

The available biochemical and paleontological evidence indicates that the
Creator made humans via a transition from apelike ancestors. Evolution and
God as an either/or is the god of the gaps, not the God of the Bible.

>Evolutionary theory is not a theory in the same sense as Einstein's
>gravitational theory where there is an underlying mathematical model with
>predicative power.

There are several predictive models in population biology. Conversely, we
can't use Einstein's gravitational theory to precisely predict moderately
complex systems (e.g., the solar system) over long periods of time
(hundreds to billions of years).

>The underpinning of biological sciences is biochemistry and at that
>microscopic level there is no scientific model that can explain the
>evolution of complex biological systems and functions.

The stepwise addition of parts and the combination of existing parts into a
more complex whole are two ways complex biochemical systems can evolve.

>Gould refers to Darwinian evolution as the centerpiece of the biological
>sciences. I am sure that that statement is just as foolish as to say that
>the Big Bang theory is the centerpiece of the physical sciences. Advances in
>medicine, science and technology have nothing whatsoever to do with how the
>whole thing came into being.

Some insights in these areas may be gained by an understanding of origins,
though it is hardly necessary for much of it. Evolution is more important
for the study of organisms. It's a unifying principle, but not the only

David Campbell