Monday, June 25, 2007


I picked up Ernst Mayr’s What Evolution Is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the title seemed to suggest that this book would be a detailed look at, come to think of it, what evolution is. And secondly, the back of the book boldly proclaimed: “With rare clarity and accessibility, Mayr poses the questions at the heart of evolution—What is the evidence for evolution on earth? What is the origin and role of organic diversity?”

It was the first question that I wanted answers to: What is the evidence for evolution on earth? The back of the book promised that “Mayr poses” this question. I assumed that meant he would actually answer this question, not merely pose it. But apparently I thought wrong.

For you see, Mayr, in his introduction, wrote: “That evolution has taken place is so well established that…a detailed presentation of the evidence is no longer needed” (What Evolution Is. 2001. New York: Basic Books, p. xv).

This reminds me a bit of what Dawkins said: “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that)” (Dawkins, Richard. 1989. “Book Review” (of Donald Johanson and Maitland Edey’s Blueprint), The New York Times, section 7, April 9, p. 3).

Darwinists keep reminding us that evolution has been proven beyond all doubt, and that only stupid, ignorant, or insane people would not agree to it. Yet when offered the chance to demonstrate this overwhelming evidence, do they do so? No. We just get statements of authority: “Don’t worry about asking for the evidence. Just accept that it’s been proven.”

Is this science? In any case, I have to wonder. If Mayr is not going to provide us with the “well established” evidence for evolution, then couldn’t he at least point to where that evidence is located so that everyone can look at it and judge the evidence for himself? Would that be too much to ask for, rather than requiring us to accept the existence of this phantom evidence that is “out there” in the “well established”, but never referenced, scholarly universe?


  1. Perhaps they, the proponets of evolution, would say that everything, the entire cosmos, is evidence for evolution, since everything is subject to its processes, not just life.

  2. Another example of this was seen recently, where evolutionist Leonard Nunney claims to have evidence that defeats Haldane's dilemma, but you can't see it, neener neener

  3. There really is not other scientific theor that is so dogmatically defended against rival theories. When the questions of evidence or support are brought up there is almost always a reference to this "pile of evidence" that will remain unspecified. One of the funniest things I recall seeing was when Dawkins was asked if he could give any evidence to support additional information being added through mutations (this is absolutely necessary for Evolution to work) and he went blank for literally 10 seconds and couldn't give anything to point to when he did in fact answer. Of course the person posing such a question must have been rather ignorant and Dawkins' problem wasn't that he couldn't think of any evidence but that he was mentally sorting through the treasure chamber of evidence for the answer he felt best at the moment...yes, that sounds about right.

  4. For you see, Mayr, in his introduction, wrote: “That evolution has taken place is so well established that…a detailed presentation of the evidence is no longer needed” (What Evolution Is. 2001. New York: Basic Books, p. xv).

    Mayr goes on to say that "the most convincing evidence for the occurrence of evolution is the discovery of extinct organisms in older geological strata" (ibid. 13).

    Sounds very promising! Unfortunately, we're in for a letdown. On the next page he concedes that "given the fact of evolution, one would expect the fossils to document a gradual steady change from ancestral forms to the descendants. But this is not what the paleontologist finds. Instead, he or she finds gaps in just about every phylectic series. New types often appear quite suddenly, and their immediate ancestors are absent in the earlier geological strata" (ibid. 14).

    He then attempts to shore up the missing evidence with supplementary lines of evidence. One of these is the molecular clock. Unfortunately for him, this has been challenged:

    Another argument is comparative anatomy. But this has also come under challenge:

    He also fails to distinguish between evidence for microevolution and macroevolution in his discussion of biogeography.

    Then there is his appeal to vestigial structures. But isn't that a Darwinism-of-the-gaps argument?

  5. According to a report of the CoE’s Parliamentary Assembly, creationists are dangerous “religious fundamentalists” who propagate “forms of religious extremism” and “could become a threat to human rights.” The report adds that the acceptance of the science of evolutionism “is crucial to the future of our societies and our democracies.”

    “Creationism, born of the denial of the evolution of species through natural selection, was for a long time an almost exclusively American phenomenon,” the report says.

    “Today creationist theories are tending to find their way into Europe and their spread is affecting quite a few Council of Europe member states. […] [T]his is liable to encourage the development of all manner of fundamentalism and extremism, synonymous with attacks of utmost virulence on human rights. The total rejection of science is definitely one of the most serious threats to human rights and civic rights. […] The war on the theory of evolution and on its proponents most often originates in forms of religious extremism which are closely allied to extreme right-wing political movements. The creationist movements possess real political power. The fact of the matter, and this has been exposed on several occasions, is that the advocates of strict creationism are out to replace democracy by theocracy. [...] If we are not careful, the values that are the very essence of the Council of Europe will be under direct threat from creationist fundamentalists.”

  6. By the way, since Mayr is dead and cannot answer this himself, I am more than willing to look at whatever source for this "well established" evidence of evolution any other Darwinist would like to put forth. Does any Darwinist here have a suggestion for a book of such evidence for Darwinism can be found?

    At the very least, T-Stone oughta have SOMETHING...right?

  7. >>Does any Darwinist here have a suggestion for a book of such evidence for Darwinism can be found?<<

    It depends on what you mean by "Darwinism" -- a term I still to this day do not understand the usage of by creationists aside from its rhetorical force ("-isms" are ideology, rather than scientific theory, and putting a man's name in an ideology conflates the science with idol-worship). If you mean "descent with modification by selection and mutation", then there is a plethora, a wealth, of literature to read for lines of argumentation.

    If you mean a book that says, "random mutation coupled to selection is sufficient for everything in biology," which creationists have come to define it by, then you won't find many resources.

    If you want books that show fossil series and genetic/genomic phylogenic studies and etc., then you have a selection to choose from. But I don't know if this satisfies the "darwinist" requirement. In general, as with any science, if you are sincerely interested in learning the subject, try the textbooks.

    I suggest starting with "Evolutionary Analysis" by Freeman and Herron then, the more technical "Evolutionary Biology, Third Edition" by Douglas J. Futuyma.