Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hopeful Monsters, Stephen J. Gould, and AiG

Well, it seems like I don't go two days without uncovering something from answers in genesis that is downright deceptive, but here goes:

Notice how he basicly says that Stephen J. Gould reintroduced the Hopeful Monster Theory. This is clearly not the case. This is from Gould's essay, "Return of Hopeful Monsters"
"In my own, strongly biased opinion, the problem of reconciling evident discontinuity in macroevolution with Darwinism is largely solved by the observation that small changes early in embryology accumulate through growth to yield profound differences among adults. Prolong the high prenatal rate of brain growth into early childhood and a monkey's brain moves toward human size. Delay the onset of metamorphosis and the axolotl of Lake Xochimilco reproduces as a tadpole with gills and never transforms into a salamander. (See my book Ontogeny and Phylogeny [Harvard University Press, 1977] for a compendium of examples, and pardon me for the unabashed plug.) As Long argues for the external cheek pouch: "A genetically controlled developmental inversion of the cheek pouch may have occurred, recurred, and persisted in some populations. Such a morphological change would have been drastic in effect, turning the pockets 'wrong side out' (furry side in), but nevertheless it would be a rather simple embryonic change."

So SJG did NOT reintroduce Hopeful Monsters, he merely said that small embryonic changes can become much more drastic in the adult stage. So this is basically just a small change which gets exacerbated as the individual grows, not a huge macromutation in which "a reptile lays an egg and hatches a bird."

Apparently they were never aware that SJG said this:
" "Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists--whether through design or stupidity, I do not know--as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups. Yet a pamphlet entitled 'Harvard Scientists Agree Evolution Is a Hoax' states: 'The facts of punctuated equilibrium which Gould and Eldredge...are forcing Darwinists to swallow fit the picture that Bryan insisted on, and which God has revealed to us in the Bible.'"


In closing, I leave you with this:
"Many evolution deniers quote Stephen Jay Gould and other punctuated equilibria proponents as saying that transitional forms are very rare. Most non-specialists get ideas of "missing links" between higher taxa of animals when they hear about transitional forms. Gould has been very clear that these are common and yet he has been quoted many times that transitional forms are rare. What is going on here? In the context of punctuated equilibria, a transitional form is between immediately related species (say two species of squirrels, species of similar Devonian trilobites, etc.), and is not referring to a transition between human and non-human, whales and primitive land mammals, etc. Indeed the transitions Gould and other punctuated equilibria proponents are arguing about would be generally be dismissed as "microevolution" by many evolution deniers. Thus antievolutionists arguing against the existence of transitions between larger taxa are very likely guilty of misquotation if they quote Gould's writings on punctuated equilibria. For more details on this see Gould's10 classic essay "Evolution as Fact and Theory" where he explains his position on the fossil record as well as demonstrates young-earth creationist misrepresentations of his views."


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