From: Jim Armstrong (email@example.com)
Date: Sun Sep 28 2003 - 21:48:37 EDT
This is not a direct response to Walter's question (which is a very
But because he mentioned the Cambrian Explosion, it prompted me to list
a sampling of considerations regarding the "explosion" and other aspects
of the evolutionary process and setting(s) that seem to be generally
- the immensity of the universe and the impact that immensity has on the
potential for (and staggering numbers of) evolutionary paths that can be
explored (sequentially and in parallel) through the natural workings of
the universe (huge even if Earth were the only place that life occurs,
given the evident time scales).
- the observation that evolution intrinsically involves populations
(single groupings as well as subgroupings divided by geography and
time), making the notion of descent from a single creature a somewhat
misleading, overly linear model except perhaps for the very earliest
appearance of life of the most rudimentary life form.
- the "Cambrian explosion" took place over a period of 70-100 million
years (a very long time - and the boundaries and extent of the period
are artificial and fuzzy).
- the fossil record is intrinsically undersampled for most higher order
creatures and will likely always remain so. Finding old humanoid remains
is akin to playing the game of Battleship on a world-scale board with a
relatively tiny number of "ships".
- the idea of missing intermediate fossils would seem to embody a
fundamental and serious definition problem. Every found fossil IS itself
an intermediate form. Everyone would like to have yet more samples
(specimens) to connect the dots more confidently.
- the distinction between micro and macro evolution appears to be
completely artificial (and perhaps even meaningless) - time being the
only difference and the number of sequential and divergent evolutionary
opportunities being far, far from a linear function of time.
Enough of that. I got it out of my system for now.
I'm interested in hearing the responses to Walter's specific question.
Walter Hicks wrote:
>I would be interested in hearing from the list
>about the negative aspects of evolutionary theory.
>By this, I mean that we know that God could have
>created man directly or that he could have done so
>as an evolutionary process. I am interested in
>what the data seems to show that opposes
>evolutionary theory. I am not interested in
>hearing about various Biblical interpretations
>because that has been a pretty worn out subject.
>I was raised believing in evolution --- as were
>about 99% of those I knew in my youth. I never
>really doubted it and I thought that Darwin was
>quite brilliant. Even after becoming a committed
>Christian, I never even heard a criticism about
>evolution for the next 20 years. I was quite
>surprised when I first heard my Christian brothers
>and sisters opposing the idea on Biblical grounds.
>Anyhow, that aside, I have studied (as a pure
>layman) the works of Darwin and began to feel
>somewhat uneasy about them. Among other things I
>failed to see any substantial evidence of this
>massive evolution of intermediate life forms in
>either the fossil record on in life forms, as we
>know them today. I would expect that we should
>have all sorts of intermediate species.
>Considering the billions of humans, we seem to be
>all still humans. Then of course, Gould noted that
>species have largely not developed along the lines
>suggested by Darwin. Instead the evidence shows
>the relative abruptness of new species. That got
>Dawkins pretty mad if I read it correctly. Even
>though Gould was an atheist, it certainly leaves
>room open for the possibility that God stepped in
>and changed things. All told, I somewhat on the
>fence at this time.
>In the book “God did it but How?” I read about
>certain shortcomings of evolutionary theory. I
>would really like to hear about those from those
>on this list who subscribe to these shortcomings
>--- or at least recognize their potential.
>Walt Hicks <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>In any consistent theory, there must
>exist true but not provable statements.
>You can only find the truth with logic
>If you have already found the truth
>without it. (G.K. Chesterton)
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