Featured as a back-of-page article in the CSABC Quarterly Letter of June 2005
by Richard Peachey
I agree with Mark Ridley (zoologist at Oxford University) that fossils should not be used as 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. . . . 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. . . . If the creationists want to impress the Darwinian establishment, it will be no use prating on about what the fossils say. No good Darwinian's belief stands on the fossil evidence for gradual evolution, so nor will his belief fall by it." (Mark Ridley. 1981 [Jun 25]. "Who doubts evolution?" New Scientist 90:831f.)
I agree with S.R. Scadding (Department of Zoology, University of Guelph) that vestigial organs are not valid evidence for evolution!
"The existence of functionless 'vestigial organs' was presented by Darwin, and is often cited by current biology textbooks, as part of the evidence for evolution. . . . An analysis of the difficulties in unambiguously identifying functionless structures and an analysis of the nature of the argument, leads to the conclusion that 'vestigial organs' provide no evidence for evolutionary theory. . . . I suspect that this argument gained widespread use not because it proves anything about evolution, but because it was thought to have particular force against some varieties of creationism." (S.R. Scadding. 1981 [May]. "Do 'Vestigial Organs' Provide Evidence for Evolution?" Evolutionary Theory 5:173, 175. See also Scadding's followup piece in which he rebuts objections to his first article: "Vestigial Organs Do Not Provide Scientific Evidence for Evolution." Evolutionary Theory 6:171-173, 1982 [Dec.].)
I agree with Stephen Jay Gould (paleontologist and noted evolutionary spokesman, who taught at Harvard University until his death in 2002) that Darwinian gradualism is not supported by the fossil record!
"The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of the fossils. . . . 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 transformations of its ancestors: it appears all at once and 'fully formed.' " (Stephen Jay Gould. 1977 [May]. "Evolution's Erratic Pace." Natural History 86:14.)
I agree with Storrs Olson (Curator of Birds, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC) that the so-called "feathered dinosaur" fossils are highly questionable!
"The idea of feathered dinosaurs and the theropod origin of birds is being actively promulgated by a cadre of zealous scientists acting in concert with certain editors at Nature and Natural Geographic who themselves have become outspoken and highly biased proselytizers of the faith. Truth and careful scientific weighing of evidence have been among the first casualties in their program, which is now fast becoming one of the grander scientific hoaxes of our age — the paleontological equivalent of cold fusion." (Storrs L. Olson. 1999 [Nov 1]. Open Letter to Peter Raven, Secretary, Committee for Research and Exploration, National Geographic Society, Washington, DC.)
I agree with Mano Singham (physics instructor at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio) that students should be encouraged to think critically about what they're told in the science classroom!
"Students will forget most of the information they get in my classes. The best that I can hope for is to enable my students to think critically, to detect propaganda and reject intellectual coercion, even when I am the one doing it. . . . If scientists want the spirit of true inquiry to flourish, then we have to accept—and even encourage—public skepticism about what we say, too. Otherwise, we become nothing but ideologues." (Mano Singham. 2000 [Jun]. ''Teaching and Propaganda." Physics Today 53:55.)