Re: Letter to the Editor

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Mon, 08 Jun 1998 13:08:39 -0500 (EST)

At 04:30 PM 6/4/98 -0400, David Campbell wrote:
>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.

Dear David,

I would say that the presently available biochemical and parenthetical data
is not inconsistent with the idea that humans had apelike ancestors.
Anything one can say beyond that depends on one's particular worldview.
Still there are all sorts of possibilities one of which is that given in

>>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).

Models in science are never the real things---they are like maps of cities
useful but not quite the city itself.

>>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.

There is a difference between can evolve and did 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

What would remain of the biological sciences if the whole word "evolution"
were eliminated from it. I can bet that over 99% would remain intact.

Take care,