Sunday, February 18, 2018


The late evolutionist and wife of Carl Sagan, Lynn Margulis, discounted the adequacy of natural selection (NS) to explain evolution:

·       The critics, including the creationist critics, are right about their criticism [of natural selection]. It’s just that they’ve got nothing to offer but intelligent design or “God did it.” They have no alternatives that are scientific.

However, the claim that “God did it” is no more unscientific than the claim that “Naturalism did it.” Neither is directly scientifically provable or unprovable. Nevertheless, many evolutionists have been skeptical of NS.

Alfred Russell Wallace, a British naturalist and co-formulator with Charles Darwin of NS also had his doubts:

·       I found this argument [of natural selection] convincing until I attempted to explain the advanced state of human faculties.

The late Stephen Jay Gould, professor of paleoanthropology at Harvard University, had been dismissive of NS:

·       Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin's argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life's history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection. We view our data as so bad that we almost never see the very process we profess to study.

·       The essence of Darwinism lies in a single phrase: natural selection is the creative force of evolutionary change. No one denies that selection will play a negative role in eliminating the unfit. Darwinian theories require that it create the fit as well.

For NS to create a new function, at least five coordinated favorable mutations must be present simultaneously – a mathematical impossibility. Roger Lewin, author and former News Editor of Science Magazine, denied that NS could account for speciation:

·       It [natural selection] may have a stabilizing effect, but it does not promote speciation. It is not a creative force, as many people have suggested.

Dr. Colin Patterson, a senior palaeontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, is more than skeptical about the power of NS:

·       No one has ever produced a [new] species by mechanisms of natural selection. No one has ever got near it and most of the current argument in neo-Darwinism is about this question.

Pierre Paul Grassé, a former president of the French Academy of Sciences, denied the evidence for NS:

·       The "evolution in action" of J. Huxley and other biologists is simply the observation of demographic facts, local fluctuations of genotypes, geographical distributions. Often the species concerned have remained practically unchanged for hundreds of centuries! Fluctuation as a result of circumstances, with prior modification of the genome, does not imply evolution, and we have tangible proof of this in many panchronic species.

Kevin Padian, Professor in Department of Integrative Biology at University of California, Berkeley and Curator of Paleontology at UC Museum of Paleontology, actually ridiculed the idea of NS as a creative force:

·       How do major evolutionary changes get started? Does anyone still believe that populations sit around for tens of thousands of years, waiting for favorable mutations to occur (and just how does that happen, by the way?), then anxiously guard them until enough accumulate for selection to push the population toward new and useful change? There you have the mathematical arguments of Neo-Darwinism that Waddington and others rightly characterized as "vacuous."

How then are we to explain the variety of species? The fossil record of the Cambrian Explosion demonstrates that speciation occurred without NS with the sudden appearance of thousands of new species. Perhaps an intelligent (ID) explanation should be sought.

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