When members of the First Church of Charles Darwin maintain that only their creedal formulation of evolutionary origins should be taught in public schools, one wonders which denominational variety should it be? Should it be Darwin’s textus receptus version before it underwent its numerous revisions and reformulations? How about the ‘hopeful monster’ version developed in the 1930s by Otto Schindewolf and promoted in 1940 by Richard Goldschmidt?12 Ms Lucey doesn’t say.
Another proposed mechanism of evolution is that of ‘punctuated equilibrium’ by Niles Eldredge and the late Stephen Jay Gould. ‘Punk Eek,’ as it is affectionately called by some and derisively labeled by others, is a radical departure from the confessional statement of beliefs of the First Church of Charles Darwin. Where the Church of Darwin first suggested that changes occur gradually over long periods of time (equilibrium or stasis), Punk Eek adherents conjecture that the ‘abrupt appearance of species (in the fossil record) could be explained by the transition occurring quickly, geologically speaking, in small, isolated populations such that transitional forms would be highly unlikely to be preserved’13. The change in doctrine came when transitional fossils could not be found to support the orthodox Darwinian dogma. Gould, a high priest of the movement before his death this year, had to confess:‘The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. . . . [T]o preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study.’
Allow me to counter this misquote with an in-context quote from Gould:
“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.”
Punctuated Equilibrium basically means that species originate in small, isolated populations. They may be disconnected from the main population by a river, mountain range, or anything else. Over the course of several hundred to several thousand generations, this isolated population evolves into a new species. They are guaranteed to be a distinct species because of genetic drift. When the barrier that separates the new species from the old is no more, the two species will meet again. When they meet, they will no longer interbreed, but compete. Sometimes the new species will drive the old one into extinction.
Now, if you were to examine the fossils from the large population, it would look as though a new species had originated suddenly. The new species may not have left behind any fossils in its small area, and it would come in and replace the old species without leaving any intermediates. This explains the pattern seen in the fossil record. Keep in mind that this would not explain major transitions, like that of reptiles to birds, just small ones, like between two species of conodont (see page 124 of Gould's paper). Now, all this may seem theoretical, but everything that has just been described has been observed before (save the part about fossilization). See Gould's papers on Punctuated Equilibria, or Richard Dawkins' chapter about it in his book The Blind Watchmaker.
Punctuated Equilibrium does NOT call on anything unobserved. Many people would argue it is merely a form of gradualism, since nothing truly sudden occurs. But enough about Punk Eek.
I suspect that this article contains more misquotes, since he quotes Michael Ruse as saying 'Evolution is a religion' even though he authored the book, "Can a Darwinian Be a Christian?" (Hint: His answer was yes).
Under the subtitle 'Aliens Did It' Our Fundamentalist Author goes on to write:
"Crick, a serious and well-respected scientist, thinks ‘that life on earth may have begun when aliens from another planet sent a rocket ship containing spores to seed the earth.’ Of course, Crick doesn’t explain how the aliens got there, but, hey, this is science. A theory is deemed scientific as long as it has the imprimatur of at least one member of the Darwinian priesthood."
How hypocritical that they should criticize someone for attributing something to aliens while they attribute everything to God. They never explain God's existence, where he came from, why he exists, or why he must exist. They also failed to mention that Crick's Panspermia hypothesis is not a formal Scientific theory, unlike the theory of evolution. It is also not true to imply that everyone thinks of Crick's proposal as scientific. I don't. Neither does Paul Davies, who criticizes the idea in his book "The Fifth Miracle".
Furthermore, there is no evidence that life was seeded on earth by aliens, and it is not taught in public schools (just like the 'hopeful monster' hypothesis).
Evolution is taught in our public schools because the evidence supports it strongly. For a brief overview of the evidence, simply click on my "Evolution for Creationists" series, on the right side of the page.