Re: Message from Phil Skell

From: Pim van Meurs <>
Date: Wed Sep 21 2005 - 00:23:54 EDT

Ted Davis wrote:

>A couple of weeks ago I drew attention here to Phil Skell's op-ed piece from
>"The Scientist," in which he raised questions about the practical value of
>evolutionary theory for doing laboratory science. Phil was not aware of our
>discussion of his essay until I told him about it. He asked me to forward
>his comments below to the list, hoping thereby to "clear away some of the
>fog" (his words to me). I am glad to help him do so.
>The evidential problems most apparent in the Cambrian explosion reappear
>less dramatically throughout the fossil succession. This is apparent, for
>instance, when we see the enormous work the Archaeopteryx was asked to do
>for one corner of the theory, the idea of the dinosaurian origin of birds.
>As Ernst Mayr noted in: What Evolution Is? (2001):

Mayr was presenting the arguments made by those arguing against a
dinosaurian origin.

He concludes that only further fossils can settle the argument decisively.
I do not believe that one can claim that Mayr's observations necessarily
presented his own viewpoints or arguments but rather the viewpoints of
those arguing against a dinosaurian origin. Mayr himself notes that the
similarity in skeleton poses strong evidence for the dinosaurian origin.

The comments, which were published in 2001, are in various areas already
outdated due to the new research. In such a fast moving area of
research, relying on a book rather than on the scientific publications
can be a significant disadvantage.
Received on Wed Sep 21 00:29:48 2005

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