Darwin on Trial by Phillip E. Johnson

By Phillip E. Johnson

Is evolution truth or fancy? Is common choice an unsupported speculation or a proven mechanism of evolutionary swap? those have been the brave questions that professor of legislations Phillip Johnson initially took up in 1991. His relentless pursuit to stick to the facts at any place it leads continues to be as proper at the present time as then. The evidence and the common sense of the arguments that purport to set up a conception of evolution according to Darwinian ideas, says Johnson, proceed to attract their power from faith--faith in philosophical naturalism. during this variation Johnson responds to critics of the 1st version and keeps that scientists have placed the cart prior to the pony, concerning as clinical truth what particularly may be considered as a but unproved speculation. additionally incorporated is a brand new, prolonged advent by way of famous biologist Michael Behe, who chronicles the continued relevance of Johnson's cogent research.

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Perhaps evidence of their existence was missing because in 1859 only a small part of the world's fossil beds had been searched, and because the explorers had not known what to look for. Once paleontologists accepted Darwinism as a working hypothesis, however, and explored many new fossil beds in an effort to confirm the theory, this situation ought to change. In time the fossil record could be expected to look very different, and very much more Darwinian. The test would not be fair to the skeptics, however, unless it was also possible for the theory to fail.

One might therefore suppose that geologists would be continually uncovering fossil evidence of transitional forms. This, however, was clearly not the case. What geologists did discover was species, and groups of species, which appeared suddenly rather than at the end of a chain of evolutionary links. Darwin conceded that the state of the fossil evidence was "the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory," and that it accounted for the fact that "all the most eminent paleontologists...

He thought the solution to the puzzle might lie in alternating periods of evolution by punctuated equilibrium on the one hand, and arbitrary extinction during catastrophes on the other. " Just about everyone who took a college biology course during the last sixty years or so has been led to believe that the fossil record was a bulwark of support for the classic Darwinian thesis, not a liability that had to be explained away. And if we didn't take a biology class we saw Inherit the Wind and laughed along with everybody else when Clarence Darrow made a monkey out of William Jennings Bryan.

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