Johnson Blows It Again

From: Chris Cogan (
Date: Thu Jan 20 2000 - 23:06:15 EST

  • Next message: "Re: What is the evidence that atheism is *true*?"

    > This is a point Phil
    > Johnson has made: "...the evidence for Darwinian macroevolutionary
    > transformations is most conspicuously absent just where the fossil
    > is most plentiful- among marine invertebrates. (These animals are
    > as fossils because they are so frequently covered in sediment upon death,
    > whereas land animals are exposed to scavengers and to the elements.) If
    > theory were true, and if the correct explanation for the difficulty in
    > ancestors were the incompleteness of the fossil record, then the evidence
    > for macroevolutionary transitions would be most plentiful where the record
    > is most complete." (Johnson P.E., "Defeating Darwinism by Opening
    > Minds", 1997, p60)]

    Not necessarily. Evolution proceeds much more slowly in stable environments
    and/or with non-recombinant reproduction than it does in cases where
    environments are much less stable and/or where DNA recombination occurs
    during reproduction. To determine whether Johnson had any valid point at all
    would require determination of details that he does not seem concerned to
    bother with. I guess this is because he suspects they would not support his
    claims. Evolution is *definitely* not to be regarded as always proceeding at
    a constant rate (by any measure that I can think of). This
    "uniformitarianism" was one of Darwin's biggest mistakes.

    Since the *main* function of selection is actually the restriction or
    *prevention* of evolution, it is not hard to understand that, in a stable,
    steady, undersea environment, once organisms got locally optimized for their
    niche in the environment, nearly *any* genetic variation would be culled
    out. Eventually, of course, even such protected environments will change, as
    tectonic plates move, as ice ages come and go, and as evolution in other
    areas "bleeds" new species into such environments, and so on. But, for long
    periods of time, many such environments appear to have been remarkably
    steady-state. These are exactly the environments in which we would *not*
    expect to see the most evidence for evolution, because they are the
    environments in which evolution would be at its very slowest, perhaps doing
    nothing more than a little genetic drift and the accumulation of
    mainly-inactive genetic material that has "found out" how to get itself
    reproduced without having to do any morphological "work."

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jan 20 2000 - 23:09:56 EST