Robert Derrick Nov2292 06:18PM Review of Chapter 8. . of Richard Thompson's Mechanistic an

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Robert Derrick Nov-22-92 06:18PM Review of Chapter 8... From: (Robert Derrick) Message-ID: Newsgroups: .. of Richard Thompson's _Mechanistic and Nonmechanistic Science_ Chapter 8, "The Doctrine of Evolution", argues that the Science of Evolution has never been successful in providing a reasonable basis for a natural explanation of the origin of species. It uses several tactics, most of them distressingly familiar. Briefly, we have the gaps in the fossil record, the argument from amazing design, the hopeful monster as scientific desperation, and the argument from negative theology. The only new idea, to me, at least, is an argument that claims that there are displaced fossils of "higher plants" that contradicts the claimed order of evolution theory. If they are true, they would through some serious doubt on the descent claimed for flowering plants. I will cover this one first, and invite all comments. I will then cover the rest of the items briefly in future posts. Thompson starts out with some statements to the effect that there is none of the continuity in the fossil record that is claimed by Evolution. I think that he is referring mainly to the large scale characteristics, as opposed to intra-species changes. "Even such important general pattern as the basic vertebrate body plan are seen to appear suddenly in the fossil record without recognizable antecedents." [p.187] He then goes on to talk about the sudden appearance of angiosperms in the fossils during the Albian and Cenomanian Epochs (about 100 mya). During this period of 12 million years, the number of families of angiosperms goes from 0 to 50. He says that this seems to be "'punctuated equilibrium' with a vengeance." [p. 188] He says that many paleontologists believe that the angiosperms evolved in relative isolation in some as yet unknown place for many millions of years, and then proliferated throughout the world sometime in the late Cretaceous. Thompson quotes Daniel Axelrod (from _The Evolution of Flowering Plants_) suggestion that the evolution of flowering plants took place in highlands, which are not represented in very old fossil beds due to severe erosion effects. Thompson takes umbrage at this suggestion. He says, "it is completely unscientific for paleontologists to try to save the theory of evolution by maintaining that they evolved there. If this procedure is allowed, then the theory of evolution becomes unfalsifiable.... Such vacuous proposals can explain anything, but for this very reason they have no place in a scientific account of this world." [p.190] Ironically, later on Thompson will claim that the realm of science needs to be expanded to include Vedic beliefs as principles and theories! How such claims as the existence of the jivatma (the Vedic "soul") are to be made falsifiable is not presented. Next, Thompson drops his coup de theatre - "what would [paleontologists] say about evidence for the existence of flowering plants...two billion years ago? ... Yet there is evidence that flowering plants may have existed during this time [the Pre-Cambrian]." [p.191] He then quotes "Nature" as claiming that angiosperm pollen has been found in rock dated to ages of 2,090 mya and 1,710 mya.* He also cites an Axelrod paper ["Evolution of the Psilophyte Paleoflora," pp. 264-275, journal of "Evolution", 1959 (I don't have a vol.#/month)] that mentions claims that spores and wood fragments were found from the Cambrian Period. Apparently, Axelrod has some theories that run (or ran; how long ago was Axelrod's last contribution to the field?) counter to other more popular theories. Is anybody familiar with him? Thompson concludes this section with the claim that the fossil record is used to support "unverifiable hypotheses", and that there are "cases where evidence conflicting with established evolutionary scenarios seems to have been ignored, or even suppressed." [p.192] Now where have we heard that before? This constitutes Thompson's entire argument against Evolution proper. --- *I see that I made a fatal mistake by not copying the bibliography, so my citations are more than a little lacking. Perhaps we can persuade KD to provide the complete citations. If he/she/it/they feels that biblio ref's also require Author Perm's, then I will try to get back to the Library for the missing pieces. We lack: Axelrod, _The Evolution of Flowering Plants_ (presumable a book) and Axelrod, "Evolution of the Psilophyte Paleoflora" from the journal "Evolution" sometime in 1959. and several "Nature" citations, corresponding to notes 15, 16 and 17 of chapter 8. --- rob derrick


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