Archive for January, 2011

Critique, a Darwinian Legacy

At the time of the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859, the topic of evolution was “in the air”, according to Charles Darwin, all 1,250 printed copies of the book were sold on the first day. The Origin of Species delivered a state of evolution critique on other popular theories.

In the nineteenth century, critiques on theories of evolution raged all the way into the chambers of the British Parliament. To resolve the debate the Parliament commissioned of the HMS Challenger, the largest international expedition ever convened, with the task of finding Darwin’s theoretical “innumerable” transitional links.

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Dawn of the Deed

In The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin describes the process of evolution: “I do believe that natural selection will generally act very slowly, only over long periods of time…. natural selection acts slowly by accumulating slight, successive, favorable variations.”

Australian paleontologist, John A. Long article entitled “Dawn of the Deed”, published in the January 2011 issue of Scientific America, highlights his recent fossil fish findings in the grassy paddocks of the Gogo Station, a vast cattle ranch located in the heart of northwestern Australia.

Surprisingly, Long’s new findings, rather than demonstrating “slight, successive” changes, however, only stands to symbolize fossil record problem, a problem painfully known by Darwin, “The distinctiveness of specific forms and their not being blended together in innumerable transitional links is a very obvious difficulty”.

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China Re-Inventing the Past, Fossils & Fraud

“On the Imperfection of the Geological Record” is the title of Chapter 10 in The Origin of Species. The fossil record has been as a problem for evolution, then and now.

Stressing the importance of the fossil record to the theory of evolution Charles Darwin wrote – “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ exists which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

Evidence for these “numerous, successive, slight modifications” in the fossil record remains a cornerstone to establish scientifically the theory of evolution. Darwin recognized, however, that the fossil record, “not being blended together by innumerable transitional links is a very obvious difficulty.”

Since 1859, the unsuccessful search through the fossil record for the expected intermediate or transitional links has produced a legacy of fraud. Continue Reading

Darwin’s Framework, Self-Organization

Self-organization is hot, once again.

Critical of his own work, in a letter to Hugh Falconer in October 1862, Charles Darwin wrote, “I look at it as absolutely certain that very much in the Origin will be proved to be rubbish; but I expect and hope that the framework will stand.”

For Darwin, the origin of life was the result of spontaneous generation. The twenty-first century version is now more popularly referred to as abiogenesis, or self-organization. Continue Reading

B-rex on 60-Minutes

In the December 26th CBS 60 Minutes news segment, reporter Leslie Stahl in the story “B-REX” interviewed paleontologists Jack Horner in Montana, Mary Schweitzer in North Carolina, and Sean Carroll in Wisconsin on the B-rex discoveries.

B-rex is actually a Tyrannosaurus rex, otherwise known as T-rex, found in Montana and the fossil was re-named after Bob Harmon, the chief preparator of paleontology Museum of the Rockies in Montana. The primary interest in B-rex centered on the discovery soft-tissue and blood vessels in the estimated 68-million-year-old dinosaur.

Since this medullary tissue in the bone marrow is similar to birds, speculations on the evolution of dinosaur to bird once again emerged in the prime time media. The original report was published in the March 25, 2005, issue of the journal Science was entitled “Gender-Specific Reproductive Tissue in Ratites and Tyrannosaurus rex”.

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Book Description

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Darwin, Then and Now is a journey through the most amazing story in the history of science - the history of evolution. The book encapsulates who Darwin was, what he said, and what scientists have discovered since the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859.

With over 1,000 references, Darwin Then and Now is a historical chronicle of the rise and fall of the once popular theory of biological evolution.