Re: [asa] Response to Baylor meeting

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Tue Sep 01 2009 - 19:42:17 EDT

I would say that the questioner does have a valid point with regard to
concern about extinction (while completely erroneous with regard to
the impossibility of constructive results from evolution).

The science tells us that mass extinction and rapid climate change are
likely to be highly disruptive to existing ecosystems, causing further
extinctions. Unless we manage something exceptionally thorough like
total nuclear war, the surviving organisms are likely to diversify and
adapt to the new conditions over the next several million years.

The science does not tell us that we should care about whether species
go extinct. The Bible, however, does, because they are God's

> I wonder if there is anything to the fact that you won't call yourself a
> neo-Darwinist?

I would not generally use the term of myself except in the very
specific context of talking about my thoughts on the process of
biological evolution. I am much more likely to use terms like
"paleontologist" or "malacologist" to describe my professional
categorization; in part because those are more standard as
designations of jobs (although they seem awfully rare in job
postings...) and in part because I am primarily interested in
organisms and their history and regard evolution more as the best
current physical model than as the primary subject of my research.

Additionally, I am disinclined to use "Darwinist" as a self label
because it is used and abused so widely. Finally, I don't
particularly care much about Darwin per se; his philosophical and
theological ideas are of historical interest but of less value than
the thoughts of someone who made more study of those topics; his
scientific work was generally quite good but is significantly expanded
on by now.

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
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Received on Tue Sep 1 19:42:59 2009

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