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Origin of Species

by Charles Darwin

Price: $7.99

 

Review

It’s hard to believe that the same man who wrote The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms could also write a book that would change the world, but that’s what Charles Darwin did. Just mentioning the title The Origin of Species (especially if you add the subtitle, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life) excites a storm of controversy.

Of course, you’d never realize this if you only read biology textbooks. All of them treat Darwin as received Truth, unquestioned and unquestionable. Many scientists prefer to present this veneer of unassailability so that none of those dreaded creationists can exploit a weakness in the armor.

But the plain fact remains that even modern biologists enamored with evolution are troubled by Darwin. His particular theory of evolution, brushed-up as neo-Darwinism, has been the governing orthodoxy for years—but unfortunately he tied it to a tenet that seems increasingly absurd: “As natural selection acts solely by accumulating slight, successive, favourable variations, it can produce no great or sudden modification; it can act only by very short and slow steps.”

This gradualism insisted upon by Darwin has proved increasingly embarrassing to modern scientists. If evolution occurred at an excruciatingly slow rate, then why can’t we find transitional forms in the fossil record? There should be literally millions of instances where a fossil manifests many of the characteristics of a reptile, but some of the characteristics of a bird (or vice versa)—where are those fossils? Darwin dodged this lack of evidential support for his theory by claiming that scientists had seen only a small portion of the fossil record, and it was spotty at best. Modern scientists have a much more complete picture of the fossil record—but, tragically, still no transitional forms.

This lack of evidence—confessed by committed evolutionists like Stephen Jay Gould—drove Gould to concoct the theory of “punctuated equilibrium.” We obviously don’t have space to discuss punctuated equilibrium here (for an excellent discussion, see the work of Bryan College professor Dr. Kurt Wise), but briefly this theory kicks neo-Darwinism into hyper-drive. Darwin’s gradualism must be discarded in order to save evolution! More to the point, Darwin’s theory must be re-interpreted to account for the lack of evidence precisely where Darwin told us we should expect to find evidence.

When we read Darwin himself, rather than modern textbooks about Darwin, we find what the scientific community has known for awhile: Darwin, and theories of evolution in general, are on shaky ground.

by Jeff Baldwin

Thegreatbooks.com