Re: Reply to creationist students #3

Stephen Jones (
Tue, 07 Apr 98 05:52:14 +0800

Steven (and Josh)

On Wed, 18 Mar 98 14:42:06 -0500, Steven Schafersman wrote:

SS>Members of this email list may be interested in something I
>posted on the web at


JA>Excerpted from Evolution Reexamined: A Survey of the
>Scientific Case Against Darwinism by Josh Anderson:
>The Challenge of the Fossil Record
>Anyone who has sat through a biology course in the last century has
>learned that the fossil record is the firm foundation upon which the
>edifice of Darwinism stands, an inexhaustible source of undeniable
>evidence for the truth of the theory.

Josh, I congratulate you on your article. But I have some
constructive criticisms.

First, you might have difficulty proving what "Anyone who has sat
through a biology course in the last century" has been taught! If
you are going to debate evolutionists, you should avoid extravagant
claims that can easily be refuted.

Second, Darwinists themselves are divided over whether the fossil
record is the main evidence for their theory. To Darwin the fossil
record was the area of greatest *difficulty* for his theory:

"But just in proportion as this process of extermination has acted on
an enormous scale, so must the number of intermediate varieties,
which have formerly existed, be truly enormous. Why then is not
every geological formation and every stratum full of such
intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely
graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and
serious objection which can be urged against the theory. The
explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the
geological record." (Darwin C., "The Origin of Species", 6th Edition,
Everyman's Library, 1967, pp292-293)

"He who rejects this view of the imperfection of the geological
record, will rightly reject the whole theory. For he may ask in vain
where are the numberless transitional links which must formerly have
connected the closely allied or representative species found in the
successive stages of the same great formation?...He may ask where
are the remains of those infinitely numerous organisms which must
have existed long before the Cambrian system was deposited?"
(Darwin 1967, p343)

More recently, Darwinist Oxford zoologist Mark Ridley admitted that
the fossil record was still not good evidence for Darwinism:

"However, the gradual change of fossil species has never been part of
the evidence for evolution. In the chapters on the fossil record in the
Origin of Species. Darwin showed that the record was useless for
testing between evolution and special creation because it has great
gaps in it. The same argument still applies. Eldredge and Gould
pointed out the fossil record might be even less complete than Darwin
had thought. Populations in the process of speciating are probably
small and geographically separated from their ancestral population, so
the full course of speciation would not be preserved at any one site of
fossil deposition. What we would see is a series replaced by another,
obviously related and yet with no gradual intermediate forms. In any
case, no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses
the fossil record as evidence in favour of the theory of evolution as
opposed to special creation." (Ridley M., "Who doubts evolution?'
New Scientist, vol. 90, 25 June 1981, p831)

Mind you, that does not stop Darwinists from trotting out any fossil
evidence which supports their theory when it suits them. But when
they are confronted with *difficulties* from the fossil record
Darwinists will say that the fossil record is not the most important
evidence for the therory! Heads Darwinism wins, tails creationism

JA>However, when we get past textbook rhetoric it becomes clear
>that things are not quite that simple. In fact, from the perspective
>of the evolutionist, the hard data provided by the fossils is one of
>the most unsettling and vexing dimensions of the theory. From the
>beginning Darwin's fiercest opponents have not been philosophers
>and clergymen but fossil experts. (72)

This is true, but it tends to undermine your original claim that
"the fossil record is the firm foundation upon which the edifice of
Darwinism stands." Probably the solution is that at the popular
science and lower-level school teaching, Darwinists have claimed
that the fossil record suports their theory. But at higher levels
where the audience is more aware of problems of the fossil record
for Darwinism, Darwinists change their tack and admit that the
fossil record is not the best evidence for their theory.

SS>The fossil record is NOT the firm foundation upon which the
>"edifice of Darwinism" stands. Darwin himself recognized this, as
>his chapter (in the 1859 Origin of Species) on the fossil record
>clearly shows. He used that chapter to essentially explain away the
>fact that the fossil record did NOT show gradual transitions
>between species, because of (1) the incompleteness and thus poor
>record of fossilization, (2) the incompleteness of the stratigraphic
>record caused by gaps in deposition and periods of erosion, and (3)
>the speed of speciation compared to the slow accumulation of

See above. Agreed that Darwin and Darwinists do not claim the
fossil record supports their theory. In fact, Darwinists have to
multiply auxiliary hypotheses to explain away the difficulties. But
creationists do not need to explain away the fossil record. It fits
a Progressive/Mediate Creation Model as is, without any special

SS>Darwin himself used comparative anatomy, embryology, plant
>and animal breeding, vestigial organs, odd and poor adaptations,
>biogeography, variation within populations, the presence of a
>taxonomic hierarchy (groups within groups of taxa), etc. to
>demonstrate the occurrence evolution--evidence that was so well
>accepted by the scientific community as sufficient proof of evolution
>that it came to be regarded as a fact by 1870--and has been ever

Here you change the subject in the usual Darwinist flip-flop between
Darwinism and Evolution. None of the above is evidence for
*Darwinism*. It is evidence for *common descent*, as opposed to the
then prevailing non-biblical idealistic philosophical theory of
separate creations, but it is *not* evidence for *Darwinist*

Darwin himself admitted in the Origin that just believing common
descent was not enough-a naturalist had to show *how* such common
descent came about.

"In considering the Origin of Species, it is quite conceivable that
a naturalist, reflecting on the mutual affinities of organic beings,
on their embryological relations, their geographical distribution,
geological succession, and other such facts, might come to the
conclusion that species had not been independently created, but had
descended, like varieties, from other species. Nevertheless, such a
conclusion, even if well founded, would be unsatisfactory, until it
could be shown how the innumerable species inhabiting this world
have been modified, so as to acquire that perfection of structure
and coadaptation which justly excites our admiration." (Darwin C.,
1967, p18)

Wilcox points out that common descent was already generally accepted
by most researchers before 1859 when Darwin published his theory:

"...the sorts of evidence that simply indicate relationship and/or
descent from a common ancestor (e.g., molecular clock data, fossil
sequences, chromosomal banding, and other measures of similarity)
are not relevant to this question unless they indicate the nature of
the creative mechanism that produced novelty during that descent.
Evidence of ancestry does not imply knowledge of the morphogenetic
mechanisms that are able to produce novelty. This was perhaps
better understood in the nineteenth century than it is today (Muller
and Wagner, 1991). Indeed, by 1850, almost all researchers accepted
common descent (Gillespie, 1979; Desmond, 1989). The unique
implication of Darwin's theory was therefore not descent, but its
suggestion that the source of biotic order was to be found in the
natural (material) order..." (Wilcox D.L., in Buell J. & Hearn V.,
eds., "Darwinism: Science or Philosophy?", 1994, p195)

Denton also observes that common descent is "equally compatible with
almost any philosophy of nature", including "creationist":

"It is true that both genuine homologous resemblance, that is, here
the phenomenon has a clear genetic and embryological basis (which as
we have seen above is far less common than is often presumed), and
the hierarchic patterns of class relationships are suggestive of
some kind of theory of descent. But neither tell us anything about
how the descent or evolution might have occurred, as to whether the
process was gradual or sudden, or as to whether the causal mechanism
was Darwinian, Lamarckian, vitalistic or even creationist. Such a
theory of descent is therefore devoid of any significant meaning and
equally compatible with almost any philosophy of nature." (Denton
M., "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis", 1985, pp154- 155)

SS>Today we can add a fourth reason--our modern understanding of
>the process of speciation by geographic isolation of subpopulations
>of a species--to the reasons why transitional fossils between species
>are rare.

There is nothing new in this. *Darwin in his Origin* claimed that
" an important element in the modification of

"Isolation, also, is an important element in the modification of
species through natural selection. In a confined or isolated area,
if not very large, the organic and inorganic conditions of life will
generally be almost uniform; so that natural selection will tend to
modify all the varying individuals of the same species in the same
manner. Intercrossing with the inhabitants of the surrounding
districts will, also, be thus prevented. Moritz Wagner has lately
published an interesting essay on this subject, and has shown that
the service rendered by isolation in preventing crosses between
newly formed varieties is probably greater even than I supposed."
(Darwin C., "The Origin of Species", 1967, p100).

The point is that while all these ingerdients may be *necessary* to
explain some degree of small-scale biological change, it is not
*sufficient* to explain really large-scale biological change at
higher taxonomic levels:

"While Eldredge and Gould's model is a perfectly reasonable
explanation of the gaps between species (and, in my view, correct)
it is doubtful if it can be extended to explain the larger
systematic gaps. The gaps which separate species: dog/fox,
rat/mouse etc are utterly trivial compared with, say, that between a
primitive terrestrial mammal and a whale or a primitive terrestrial
reptile and an Ichthyosaur; and even these relatively major
discontinuities are trivial alongside those which divide major phyla
such as molluscs and arthropods. Such major discontinuities simply
could not, unless we are to believe in miracles, have been crossed
in geologically short periods of time through one or two
transitional species occupying restricted geographical areas.
Surely, such transitions must have involved long lineages including
many collateral lines of hundreds or probably thousands of
transitional species (see diagram on page 175). To suggest that the
hundreds, thousands or possibly even millions of transitional
species which must have existed in the interval between vastly
dissimilar types were all unsuccessful species occupying isolated
areas and having very small population numbers is verging on the
incredible!" (Denton M., 1985, pp193-194)

SS>Despite the fact that transitional fossils were known in Darwin's
>day (such as Archaeopteryx, the link between dinosaurs and birds),
>these existed at higher taxonomic levels than species, so we had
>transitional fossils between families, orders, classes, etc. It has only
>been within the last two or three decades that intensive analysis of
>complete and continuous sedimentary records has demonstrated
>the gradual and punctuated speciation revealed by completely
>continuous records of transitional fossils between different species.
>Most of these records are of fossil microplankton, since they
>accumulate in the excellent strata of tropical marine oozes, but
>some are of land organisms, mostly mammals, and some of marine
>macroinvertebrates. The result is that modern textbooks CAN use
>the fossil record as evidence for evolution.

As predicted, where the fossil record does not support Darwinist
evolution, you claim that "The fossil record is NOT the firm
foundation upon which the "edifice of Darwinism" stands". But then
in those rare cases where it does provide some support for the
theory, you trot it out.

But in any event, you were asked for evidence of *Darwinian*
evolution and you respond with "evidence for evolution"! No one
denies that some lower-level transitions occur "between different
species". The real question is not whether this is "evidence for
evolution" (if evolution is defined vaguely enough) but whether it
is "evidence for" *Darwinian* "evolution".

The experimental evidence that *Darwinian* evolution can produce
even a new species, let alone complex organs like the eye is (as
Johnson puts it) "somewhere between very weak and nonexistent":

"...the evidence that the mutation/selection mechanism can create
new complex organs or new types of organisms is somewhere between
very weak and nonexistent. The Blind Watchmaker mechanism is a
child of metaphysical naturalism, not of empirical science. It
survives because the leading alternative is supernatural creation,
which is unacceptable to the rules of today's science." (Johnson
P.E., "Shouting `Heresy' in the Temple of Darwin", Christianity
Today, October 24, 1994, p25).

The point is that without experimental proof that Darwinian mutation
plus cumulative selection can do all this work of creating, *as a
whole* it equally (if not better) fits a model of Mediate Creation
by an Intelligent Designer.

SS>Although Darwin demonstrated the fact of evolution

Again this use of the vague word "evolution"! What Darwin actually
"demonstrated" was "the fact of" *micro*- "evolution":

"In his book Darwin is actually presenting two related but quite
distinct theories. The first, which has sometimes been called the
"special theory", is relatively conservative and restricted in scope
and merely proposes that new races and species arise in nature by
the agency of natural selection, thus the complete title of his
book: The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the
Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. The second
theory, which is often called the "general theory", is far more
radical. It makes the claim that the "special theory" applies
universally and hence that the appearance of all the manifold
diversity of life on Earth can be explained by a simple
extrapolation of the processes which bring about relatively trivial
changes such as those seen on the Galapagos Islands. This "general
theory" is what most people think of when they refer to evolution
theory." (Denton M., 1985, p44)

Darwin built a convincing case for his Special Theory but was less
than convincing in trying to extrapolate it to explain his General

"Although all Darwin's evidence, even the evidence of geographical
variation, was in the last analysis entirely circumstantial,
nevertheless, the arguments and observations he assembled in the
first five chapters, as well as in Chapters Twelve and Thirteen,
enabled him to build a very convincing case for his special theory -
that speciation, the origin of new species from pre-existing
species, can, and does, occur in nature as a result of perfectly
natural processes in which natural selection plays a key role. If
the Origin had dealt only with the evolution of new species it would
never have had its revolutionary impact. It was only because he
went much further to argue the general thesis that the same simple
natural processes which had brought about the diversity of the
Galapagos finches had ultimately brought forth all the diversity of
life on earth and all the adaptive design of living things that the
book proved such a watershed in western thought. Much of the
Origin, especially the later chapters, dealt not with the special
theory which gave the book its title, but with a defence of its
general application." (Denton M., 1985, p46)

However, Darwin's General Theory (as today) lacked direct empirical
support, and even his Special Theory depended largely on
circumstantial evidence:

"It was not only his general theory that was almost entirely lacking
in any direct empirical support, but his special theory was also
largely dependent on circumstantial evidence. A striking witness to
this is the fact that nowhere was Darwin able to point to one bona
fide case of natural selection having actually generated
evolutionary change in nature, let alone having been responsible for
the creation of a new species" (Denton M., 1985, p62)

SS>his proposed theory to explain it--natural selection--was not
>widely adopted until about 1940.

Agreed. It was not until Darwinian natural selection was
synthesised with Mendelian genetics in the 1940's that the resulting
Neo- Darwinism became more "widely adopted". But it is becoming
less "widely adopted" today with "natural selection" being
downplayed by the likes of Gould, Eldredge and Lewontin.

SS>The fossil record has been and still is consistent with a number
>of theories of evolution (there are more than one).

The "fossil record" (as a whole) is not "consistent" with *Neo-
Darwinian* "theories of evolution" and it is only reconciled with it
by multiplying auxiliary hypotheses and special pleading. Ever
since Darwin, Darwinists have had to fit the fossil evidence to
their theory, rather than the other way round:

"I do not pretend that I should ever have suspected how poor was the
record in the best preserved geological sections, had not the
absence of innumerable transitional links between the species which
lived at the commencement and close of each formation, pressed so
hardly on my theory." (Darwin C., 1967, p311)

"That the geological record is imperfect all will admit; but that it
is imperfect to the degree required by our theory, few will be
inclined to admit." (Darwin C., 1967, p443)

In fact not only is the "fossil record consistent with a number of
theories of evolution" (although not as a whole with Neo-Darwinist
evolution), the "fossil record" is also "consistent with a number of
theories of" *creation*, particularly Progressive and Mediate
Creation, which would predict sudden appearance and then stability,
which is in fact the pervasive pattern:

"The history of most fossil species includes two features particularly
inconsistent with gradualism: 1. Stasis. Most species exhibit no
directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the
fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear;
morphological change is usually limited and directionless. 2. Sudden
appearance. In any local area, a species does not arise gradually by
the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and
"fully formed." (Gould S.J, "The Episodic Nature of Evolutionary
Change", in "The Panda's Thumb", 1980, pp150-151).

SS>The mechanism of evolution cannot be understood solely from
>the fossil record or from any single piece of evidence.

Agreed. The "mechanism" of evolution" is a "a conglomerate idea
consisting of conflicting hypotheses" (Johnson P.E., "Darwin on
Trial", 1993, pp11-12, quoting Gould S.J., "Darwinism Defined: The
Difference between Fact and Theory", Discover, January 1987).

But precisely because it is such a conglomerate of mechanisms,
Darwinian evolution, like Freudian psychology or Marxian economics,
cannot ever be falsified, because if one mechnanism fails, there are
others (even future unknown ones) to take their place:

The late Colin Patterson pointed out that even the *two* mechanisms
of natural selection and genetic drift claimed by Neo-Darwinian
evolution rendered it "no longer testable":

"Darwinian evolution, by natural selection, predicts that organisms
are as they are because all their genes have been and are being
subjected to selection, those that reduce the organism's success
being eliminated, and those that enhance it being favoured. This is
a scientific theory, for these predictions can be tested.
'Non-Darwinian' or random evolution predicts that some features of
organisms are non-adaptive, having neutral or slightly negative
survival value, and that the genes controlling such features are
fluctuating randomly in the population, or have been fixed because
at some time in the past the population went through a bottleneck,
when it was greatly reduced. When these two theories are combined,
as a general explanation of evolutionary change, that general theory
is no longer testable. Take natural selection: no matter how many
cases fail to yield to a natural selection analysis, the theory is
not threatened, for it can always be said that these failures of
selection theory are explained by genetic drift. And no matter how
many supposed examples of genetic drift are shown to be due, after
all, to natural selection, the neutral theory is not threatened, for
it never pretended to explain all evolution." (Patterson C.,
"Evolution", British Museum (Natural History): London, 1978, p70).

SS>The statement that Darwin's fiercest opponents were fossil
>experts (such as Louis Agassiz) is wrong: Darwin basically ignored

That Darwin "basically ignored" the leading "fossil experts" of his
day, does not contest Josh's and Johnson's claim that they were his
"fiercest opponent". Besides, it is hardly anything for Darwinists
to be proud of that Darwin (like modern Darwinists) basically
ignored the fossil evidence!

SS>His fiercest opponents were zoologists

And I find this strange in that "Louis Agassiz" *was* also a
"zoologist", since our modern distinctions between disciplines were
in their infancy. Gould says that "Agassiz was America's leading
biologist" Gould S.J., "Ever Since Darwin", 1991, p148), and
mentions in passing that: "Louis Agassiz...gave to the building in
which I work the name" the "Harvard...Museum of Comparative
Zoology.", Gould S.J., 1991, p92)

SS>and let's be clear: they were opponents of his theory of
>evolution (natural selectin), NOT the fact of evolution.
>Most of them proposed their own theories of evolution--ones not
>relying on natural selection, which until the 1930s was considered
>inadequate as a means of generating new species.

The vacuousness of this "fact of evolution" without an accompanying
mechanism, can be seen by the fact that many of these "opponents"
who "proposed their own theories of evolution", were also
"creationists" (in the idealist philosophical sense). For example,
Gould calls your chosen example "Louis Agassiz", the "primal
creationist", whose "mind was indentured to the creationist world
view and the idealist philosophy that he had learned from Europe's
great scientists", who argued that the history of life reflects a
preordained, divine plan and that species are the created
incarnations of ideas in God's mind." (Gould S.J., "Hen's Teeth and
Horse's Toes", 1984, p108)

> SS>After 1870, the most prominent critics of the process of
>evolution were clergymen and other religionists; the last opponent
>of evolution who was also a legitimate scientist died in 1901 (this
>history is very well known).

With the rise of scientific naturalism, "legitimate scientist" were
*definied* as those who hold to a metaphysical or methodological
naturalism. And since "evolution" is today defined as applied
naturalism (indeed as everything but creationism), the *only*
"critics of the process of evolution" *could be* "clergymen and
other religionists"!

Indeed, that since "1901" there have been no "critics" of "the
process of evolution" among "legitimate scientists" is part of the
problem! Conklin in 1943 pointed out that "evolution", because it
is "a supreme integrative principle", uniquely had escaped "severe
methodological criticism" that had been "employed in other

"The concept of organic evolution is very highly prized by biologists,
for many of whom it is an object of genuinely religious devotion,
because they regard it as a supreme integrative principle. This is
probably the reason why severe methodological criticism employed in
other departments of biology has not yet been brought to bear on
evolutionary speculation." (Conklin E., "Man Real and Ideal", 1943,
p147, in Bird W.R., "The Origin of Species Revisited," 1991, Vol. II,

Johnson observes:

"In his 1992 book Dreams of a Final Theory, Steven described me as
currently "the most respectable academic critic of evolution." I am
not sure that rates as much of a compliment in Weinberg's scale of
values, but I am more interested in the description than the honor.
Just what is a "critic of evolution," and why, in an academic world
in which criticism of established opinion is valued so highly, is
criticism of evolution so unusual?" (Johnson P.E., "Darwin on
Trial," 1993, p157)

SS>It is common for creationists to confuse the terms "Darwinism"
>and "evolution." Josh Anderson does this repeatedly throughout
>his website. These are two different things.

Josh makes it plain from his title "Evolution Reexamined: A Survey
of the Scientific Case Against Darwinism" that he is crtiquing
"evolution" in general and "Darwinism" in particular.

Darwinism is the dominant theory of evolution taught in schools and
university today, so when creationists attack evolution the same
arguments generally apply to Darwinism too, and vice-versa.

But in any event, when creationists attack Darwinism, evolutionists
usually switch to the more general and vaguer term, "evolution" (as
you yourself have done on at least two occasions above). Then when
the coast is clear they revert back to Darwinism again:

"Manipulation of the terminology also allows natural selection to
appear and disappear on command. When unfriendly critics are
absent, Darwinists can just assume the creative power of natural
selection and employ it to explain whatever change or lack of change
has been observed. When critics appear and demand empirical
confirmation, Darwinists can avoid the test by responding that
scientists are discovering alternative mechanisms, particularly at the
molecular level, which relegate selection to a less important role. The
fact of evolution therefore remains unquestioned, even if there is a
certain amount of healthy debate about the theory. Once the critics
have been distracted, the Blind Watchmaker can reenter by the back
door. Darwinists will explain that no biologist doubts the importance
of Darwinian selection, because nothing else was available to shape
the adaptive features of the phenotypes. (Johnson P.E., "Darwin on
Trial," 1993, pp153-154)

SS>Darwinism is more properly called neo-darwinism or the
>synthetic theory of evolution--it is the most popular evolutionary
>theory today, held by most but not all biologists and

So what is your point? Obviously when creationists attack
"evolution" they mean to include "the most popular evolutionary
theory", namely "neo-darwinism".

SS>This theory EXPLAINS evolution. Evolution is a natural
>process that is usually defined as change in the genotype of a
>population through time.

Mayr says this is "a meaningless formulation":

"The problems connected with rates and trends of evolution could be
interpreted in terms of the geneticists' formula that evolution is a
change in gene frequency. However, this is a meaningless
formulation as far as most other problems of macroevolution are
concerned, and is one of the reasons why genetics made such a
relatively small contribution to the solution of macroevolutionary
problems."(Mayr E., "The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity,
Evolution, and Inheritance", Belknap Press: Cambridge MA, 1982,

SS>Evolution is an observable and testable fact whose predictions
>have been repeatedly corroborated.

On the basis of your definition, that "Evolution is...change in the
genotype of a population through time", of course "evolution is an
observable and testable fact". Just find an example of a "change in
the genotype of a population through time" and hey presto! You have
proved "evolution"!

And with such an unfalsifiable definition of "evolution", no wonder
its "predictions have been repeatedly corroborated". All you have
to do is predict that you will find "change in the genotype of a
population through time" and you have proved "evolution"!

SS>There are a number of types of evolution, the most important of
>which is speciation--the generation of new species during evolution.
>Evolution within a species is termed microevolution:. its climatic
result is a new species; microevolution often results in speciation,
>but not always.

Even young-Earth creationists have no problem with "speciation" or
with "microevolution". But what exactly do you mean by
"microevolution often results in speciation, but not always."
Exactly *how often* does "microevolution...result in speciation"?

SS> Evolution within higher taxa is termed macroevolution; its
>climatic result is the generation of new genera, families, orders, etc.

This is only *one* of the definitions of "macroevolution". Gould lists
several other things under the heading of "macroevolution", namely:

1. "origin of basic designs, long-term trends, patterns of extinction
and faunal turnover":

"This "extrapolationist" theory denied any independence to
macroevolution and interpreted all large-scale evolutionary events
(origin of basic designs, long-term trends, patterns of extinction and
faunal turnover) as slowly accumulated microevolution (the study of
small-scale changes within species).(Gould S.J., "Hen's Teeth and
Horse's Toes," 1986, p13)

2. major structural transition:

"Orthodox neo-Darwinians extrapolate these even and continuous
changes to the most profound structural transitions in the history of
life: by a long series of insensibly graded intermediate steps, birds are
linked to reptiles, fish with jaws to their jawless ancestors.
Macroevolution (major structural transition) is nothing more than
microevolution (flies in bottles) extended. If black moths can displace
white moths in a century, then reptiles can become birds in a few
million years by the smooth and sequential summation of countless
changes. The shift of gene frequencies in local populations is an
adequate model for all evolutionary processes - or so the current
orthodoxy states." (Gould S.J., "The Panda's Thumb", 1990, p156)

Indeed, so rapid and extensive has been some changes in the history
of life that some evolutionists have felt the need for a third type of
evolution, "quantum" or "mega-" evolution:

"Indeed, Simpson, noting that microevolution refers to within-species
processes, while macroevolution refers to relatively lower-ranked
higher taxa (meaning genera and perhaps families), decided that still a
third term would be useful: megaevolution. This term would embrace
the very sorts of examples of large-scale evolution he had in mind
with his concept of quantum evolution." (Eldredge N., "Reinventing
Darwin", 1996, p127)

SS>A major controversy among evolutionary
>scientists today is the degree to which microevolution and
>macroevolution are linked. The classical synthetic theory states
>that macroevolution results by the effects over time of
>microevolution. New evolutionary theories, such as species
>selection, state that macroevolution results from more than

Agreed. But as Dawkins points out, even "species selection" cannot
explain one aspect of "macroevolution", namely "the origin of basic

"This is a convenient moment to deal with the hypothesis of species
selection...You can call that a form of natural selection if you
wish, although I suspect that it is closer to single-step selection
than to cumulative selection. What I am sceptical about is the
suggestion that this kind of selection has any great importance in
explaining evolution....what I mainly want a theory of evolution to
do is explain complex, well-designed mechanisms like hearts, hands,
eyes and echolocation. Nobody, not even the most ardent species
selectionist, thinks that species selection can do this." (Dawkins
R., "The Blind Watchmaker", 1991, p265)

SS> (I will discuss the details of this and other
>legitimate evolutionary controversies later in my remarks.) It is
>important to note that microevolution, and its ultimate
>outcome--speciation, have been directly observed in both nature and
>the laboratory.

I have no problem with "microevolution" but I dispute your claim
that "speciation" has actually "been directly observed in both
nature and the laboratory". Please support your claim with
examples and references for "speciation" having "been
directly observed in" 1. "nature" and 2. "the laboratory".

SS>Macroevolution, however, occurs too slowly to observe on
>human time scales, so it must be studied like other historical
>sciences (geology, cosmology, astronomy, etc.) with secondary
>observation and inference, without the benefit of contemporaneous
>observation and experiment. This difference in scientific
>methodology has led to confusion among nonscientists--especially
>creationists!--about the factual standing of macroevolution, but
>let's not confuse this with controversies among scientists about the
>connection between micro- and macroevolution. The former is a
>mistake resulting from ignorance, the latter is legitimate.

I sympathise with scientist's problems with not being able to
"observe" macroevolution, but if they cannot observe it, they cannot
know it *was* macroevolution! It could have been *creation*.

For example, Cambridge botanist E.J.H. Corner frankly admitted
"that, to the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is in favor
of special creation":

"`Much evidence can be adduced in favor of the theory of
evolution-from biology, biogeography and paleontology, but I still
think that, to the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is in
favor of special creation. If, however, another explanation could
be found for this hierarchy of classification, it would be the knell
of the theory of evolution. Can you imagine how an orchid, a
duckweed, and a palm have come from the same ancestry, and have we
any evidence for this assumption? The evolutionist must be prepared
with an answer, but I think that most would break down before an
inquisition." (Corner E.J.H, "Evolution," in McLeod A.M. & Colby
L.S., ed., "Contemporary Biological Thought", 1961, pp95 & 97, in
Johnson P.E., "Darwin on Trial", 1993, pp196-197).



Stephen E (Steve) Jones ,--_|\
3 Hawker Avenue / Oz \
Warwick 6024 ->*_,--\_/ Phone +61 8 9448 7439
Perth, West Australia v "Test everything." (1Thess 5:21)