"modern" evolutionary theory/evidence

Wendee HOLTCAMP (wendee@greendzn.com)
Sun, 26 Jul 1998 23:48:37 -0500

(Apologies if you are also on SCICHR to which I also posted this message. I
figured there might be a larger base on the ASA list so I resubscribed here
as well)


I am in desparate need for some quick answers to these question re. modern evolution. (see below)

This is to supplement a rebuttal I am writing for an article "Is God an Evolutionist" that appeared in Jul 98 Lutheran Witness Magazine. Sadly, he has numerous factual errors, false premises, and quotes out of context, that render his entire manuscript questionable. It is very distressing to me to see someone cling so tenaciously to their beliefs, that they are unable to even present them in an unbiased light. When we do this, are we not at danger of worshiping our "beliefs" about God rather than God Himself? Anyway... my questions...

(1) It is my understanding that the current theories of evolution have diverged significantly from what Darwin originally proposed. In what ways?

(2) Darwinism: Are there evolutionary scientists who would still call themselves "Darwinists"? (Does that imply a belief in gradualism?) Or is the term "Darwinist" outdated? What is "Neo-Darwinism"?

(3) Mutations & prim/adv. features: This author claims that the evolution scientist "relies" on mutations as explanation for macro-evolution. Didn't recent genetic findings show certain primitive species already contain genes for advanced features like developed eyes, even though they do not possess them? Can anyone provide me with specific examples of such animals and what features, and perhaps a citation or two? (so that I can contact the authors to obtain reprints - I am not close to an accessible univ. library). Also, is there an accepted name for this? (prim. sp. having "advanced" genes)

(4) Gradualism vs. punctual equilibrium: Which is the "accepted" theory of the day, or is it still hotly debated? Who originally proposed punc. equilibrium? Are there other alternative mechanisms? (actually these are not really mechanisms but clarifying theories, correct?)

(5) S.J. Gould/trade secret: The author claims Gould said "the trade secret of paleontology" is that there are no or few transitional fossils. I believe the author may have taken Gould's statements out of context. Anyone know Gould's actual meaning for that statement? (I do understand that in punctual equil. theory you would not expect many transitional fossils since evolutionary changes occur rapidly due to abrupt environment/climate/etc changes.)

(6) Scriptural 'death': The Scriptures tell us "by sin, death came into the world" and "the wages of sin is death" --> My straight reading of that has always taken "death" to mean NOT physical death but spiritual death (the death of one's soul). Is there anyone else who holds to this interpretation? Is physical death the commonly accepted belief?

(7) Appearance of Age: I know we have discussed the reason why most of us on list do not agree with the "appearance of age" being comparable to the wine at Cana. Can someone re-explain WHY the analogy doesn't hold?

(8) He quotes a Gallup poll that says 47% of Americans believe God created HUMANS in their present form within the last 10,000 years, and that only 38% believe in a "compromise involving some form of divinely guided evolution" - his words, not nec. the poll's. Has anyone seen this particular poll or know where I can locate the specifics behind it? I would be interested in the % of that 47% that believe in evolution of other species, but special creation of humankind - that may make the number even closer if not skewed the other way. (OF course the whole argument he's trying to pull off that "if a majority believe it, than it's true" is completely false)

I appreciate your feedback even if its just to refer me to such & such web site. I am trying to do a quick turnaround for this rebuttal because the article just came out and if I want a chance at getting them to accept this rebuttal I have to get it in ASAP.

Best regards,

Wendee Holtcamp ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Wendee Holtcamp -- GREENDESIGN Communications Environment/Ecology/Travel Journalism & Photography Photos ------> http://www.greendzn.com <------ Articles ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ List-Owner, Envwrite Writing Workshop "subscribe envwrite Your Name" to listserv@greendzn.com